It's been clear for years that Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS are the two dominant smartphone platforms around the world, but a new report from research firm IDC on second-quarter smartphone shipments makes clear there almost isn't any breathing space for any competitors.
According to IDC, Android and iOS' combined global market share for smartphone shipments in the second quarter grew to 96.4 percent, up from 92.6 percent in the year-ago period. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has invested heavily--including a $7.2 billion deal for Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) devices business--to make its Windows Phone platform the third major ecosystem. So far, those efforts are not gaining traction, at least not on a global basis, according to IDC.
Windows Phone actually saw its market share declined globally in the second quarter to 2.5 percent, down from 3.4 percent in the year-ago quarter, making it a distant third in the market. BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), meanwhile, had just 0.5 percent global smartphone market share in the quarter.
Smartphones vendors shipped a total of 301.3 million smartphones around the world in the second quarter, moving past the 300 million unit mark for the first time, IDC reported. Total shipments were up 25.3 percent from the 240.5 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2013.
Android device makers shipped a total of 255.3 million units, or 84.7 percent of the market, up 33.3 percent year-over-year. Apple's iOS saw its market share slip slightly from a year ago to 11.7 percent from 13 percent. IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in a statement that Android has been cleaning up in emerging markets and in the sub-$200 smartphone segment.
"During the second quarter, 58.6 percent of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide cost less than $200 off contract, making them very attractive compared to other devices," he said. "With the recent introduction of Android One, in which Google offers reference designs below $100 to Android OEMs, the proportion of sub-$200 volumes will climb even higher."
Meanwhile, other platforms are continuing to slog away without much success. "The biggest stumbling block is around getting enough partnerships in play--not just phone manufacturers but also developers, many of which are smaller outfits looking to minimize development efforts by sticking to the two big ecosystems," IDC analyst Melissa Chau said.
IDC reported that there were 7.4 million Windows Phone shipments in the second quarter, down from 8.2 million in the year-ago period. The bulk of those likely came from Nokia, as Samsung and HTC focused their resources on releasing flagship products running Android. However, Windows Phone's fortunes could change with the introduction of new devices running Windows Phone 8.1, as Microsoft has said its Windows Phone hardware partners will produce devices this year that cost less than $200.
Microsoft's decision to drop licensing fees for devices with screens of less than nine inches, coupled with new partnerships with OEMs and ODMs in China and India, could help it spark sales in emerging markets. Further, Microsoft is working with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to bring its lower-end smartphone chips to Windows Phone devices this year, and is also allowing its partners to use Qualcomm reference design chips, which could reduce device costs.
"The list of [Windows Phone] OEM partners has not changed significantly from a year ago, but that could start to change during the second half of 2014 when numerous vendors within key emerging markets come on board, including BLU, Micromax, Prestigio, Yezz, and others" IDC noted. "These join Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE."
- see this IDC release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this The Verge article
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