May 1, 2012 at 7:04 PM ET
Last week there was some chatter that Android might be losing steam in the smartphone race, but first-quarter numbers from mobile-tracking firms suggest that's far from the truth. Android makes up a bare majority of all smartphones now, with 51 percent of the global market. Meanwhile, Apple crossed the 30 percent mark -- both platforms snapping up users bailing on their BlackBerrys.
The biggest single winner, however, has to be Samsung. The company's smartphone sales exploded over the last year, catapulting them into the enviable position of top mobile phone manufacturer in the world.
Nokia, which has held that post for years, saw significant drops in shipments, no doubt due to its continuing realignment around Windows Phone 7 -- a costly gamble that has yet to pay off. (MSNBC.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.) Its move away from Symbian is a smart move, but long overdue and not an easy or cheap one to make.
Interestingly, mobile phone shipments overall declined slightly, possibly as a result of ongoing economic turmoil. But smartphones, which now make up over a third of total mobile phone shipments according to IDC, jumped by 42.5 percent to almost 150 million worldwide just this quarter.
It's increasingly a two-horse race in mobile, not just between Android and iOS, but between Samsung and Apple. The competitors in both software and hardware have fallen by the wayside while the giants compete furiously. Android is ahead for now, but Apple's new iPhone, likely coming out later this year, will keep everyone guessing.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.