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91 percent of smartphones worldwide use Android, Apple operating systems

IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker
IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker

Android and Apple's mobile operating systems were on 91 percent of the smartphones shipped globally in the last quarter of 2012, according to a report from IDC on Thursday, meaning that the fight for third place will be a mighty one between BlackBerry and Windows.

Google's Android operating system was on 70.1 percent of phones shipped, with Apple's iOS on 21 percent.

"The dominance of Android and Apple reached a new watermark in the fourth quarter," said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, in a statement.

"Android boasted a broad selection of smartphones, and an equally deep list of smartphone vendor partners. Finding an Android smartphone for nearly any budget, taste, size and price was all but guaranteed during 2012. As a result, Android was rewarded with market-beating growth."

Apple makes one iPhone, the current model being the iPhone 5, although previous models such as the 4S and 4 are still sold.

"Demand for Apple's iPhone 5 kept iOS out in front and in the hands of many smartphone users," Llamas said. "At the same time, lower prices on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S brought iOS within reach of more users and sustained volume success of older models."

Android and Apple operating systems have been on more than 50 percent of smartphone shipments for the past two years, IDC said, But with the the new BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 coming this year, "we expect some ground to be made by the new entrants over the coming years," said Ryan Reith, program manager with IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.

BlackBerry had 3.2 percent of shipments in the fourth quarter, and Windows phones, 2.6 percent.

"There is no question the road ahead is uphill for both Microsoft and BlackBerry, but history shows us consumers are open to change. Platform diversity is something not only the consumers have asked for, but also the operators."

Indeed, Windows phones increased market share in the fourth quarter 2012 over the same period in 2011, going from 1.5 to 6 percent. BlackBerry, meanwhile, had a decline from 8.1 to 3.2 percent, a precipitous drop it's hoping to turn around with its new BlackBerry 10 phones.

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