IDC: Android OEMs Shipped 162M Smartphones In Q1, More Than 4X Apple’s Rate; Windows Phone Now In (Distant) Third

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Android, GT, Mobile
Tags: , ,

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IDC today was the latest to publish its numbers on
smartphone market shares after the major handset
makers released Q1 earnings, and like Gartner,
Strategy Analytics and the rest, it underscores the
power of Google’s Android platform at the moment:
Android OEMs shipped 162.1 million handsets in the quarter, giving the platform a 75% share of total
worldwide shipments, while Apple’s 37.4 million
devices put it at an increasingly distant second
position at 17.3%. Microsoft’s Windows Phone, driven
primarily by its partner Nokia (79% of all WP
shipments), grew the most of all platforms, with a rise of 133.3%, but that still puts it at a single-digit share,
3.2% on 7 million devices shipped. That meant that Microsoft has now overtaken
BlackBerry, which declined by just over 35% with 6.5
million shipments, ending with a 2.9% market share. Important to note that IDC specifies that this is
devices shipped, not sold. Some analysts have told
me that the two are effectively interchangeable terms,
but shipped is also potentially a more optimistic
figure: it points to how well retailers and carriers think
certain models are likely to sell in the quarter ahead. Occasionally these can lag compared to how well
certain handset makers are actually doing if a device
ends up selling worse than expected. What “shipped” numbers like IDC’s say is that
Android and iOS continue to, more or less, remain the
only games in town in terms of how confident sales
channels feel about shifting devices, with other
platforms relegated to niche status. This is something
that companies like BlackBerry are trying to change, as evidenced by a recent deal to extend a $256
million loan to Telefonica for purchasing BlackBerry
devices. IDC’s numbers show that together these two
platforms accounted for nearly 200 million units
(199.5 million) shipped, up 59% over a year ago. The
smaller players are not to be dismissed, though. Not
only is Windows Phone the most rapidly rising of all
platforms at the moment, but IDC notes that BlackBerry’s BB10 new range have hit 1 million
shipped devices this quarter. But turnaround will only come with that kind of growth
being sustained. “Given the relatively low volume
generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to
show further gains to solidify its status as an
alterative to Android or iOS,” writes Kevin Restivo,
senior research analyst with IDC. For the time being, the message to users, and to app
developers, is that these are the platforms where you
want to be. Considering how key content has been as
a route to attracting users to these devices, that will
continue to pose a challenge for the smaller players. As with Strategy Analytics’ numbers yesterday
detailing the profitability of different smartphone
platforms in the quarter, IDC notes that Samsung is
by far the “clear leader” in Android. It notes that it had
a 41.1% market share. As a sign of the ongoing
fragmentation of players on the platform, no other single OEM had more than a single-digit percentage
market share after that, “and an even longer list of
vendors with market share less than one percent.”
The fact that it’s still “free” to license Android, and
relatively easy to modify it for a more custom
experience, will mean that it will continue to be the platform of choice for OEMs looking for more
revenues from the ongoing boom in smartphones. As we saw in Apple’s earnings earlier in the quarter,
the company’s sales of iPhones are at an all-time
high, but in comparison to the growth of the rest of
the market, it’s actually off, with market share down
nearly six percentage points. There is some feeling
that part of this is due to the fact that the platform appears stale compared to all the change going on
elsewhere with software and hardware features, news
handsets and more. “Although demand remains
strong worldwide, the iOS experience has remained
largely the same since the first iPhone debuted in
2007,” IDC notes, pointing to a “massive overhaul” that appears to be on the cards with iOS 7. IDC also notes that over the last year, shares of the
biggest platforms have fluctuated, although Android’s
current 75% is the highest in a year. Against that, the
last time that Android approached 75%, in Q3 2012,
Apple’s share was only 14.5% as people held out for
a new iPhone model. That shows that Apple’s growth this quarter was at the expense of declines for other
smaller platforms.

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