Q1 Smartphone Numbers Are In: Is Android Unstoppable?


Android's impressive growth rate is showing no signs of slowing down this year.

According to Gartner's first-quarter mobile phone/smartphone shipment report, Google's mobile operating system extended its lead in the smartphone OS market as Android's global market share jumped from 56.9 percent to 74.4 percent year over year.

Coming in a distant second was Apple's iOS, which saw its share fall from 22.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 18.2 percent in the first quarter of this year. BlackBerry, meanwhile, held on to the third spot in Gartner's rankings but also saw its share fall from 6.8 percent one year ago to just 3 percent last quarter.

[Related: Q1 Smartphone Market Share Winners And Losers]

Microsoft improved its share from 1.9 percent in first-quarter 2012 to 2.9 percent last quarter. But the software giant is still far behind in the mobile OS space, despite its alliance with Nokia, which according to Gartner ranked second in worldwide mobile phone shipments in the first quarter but fell to the 10th spot for smartphone shipments.

In the Gartner report, principal research analyst Anshul Gupta said Android's hold on the smartphone OS market is "unshakable" and that newer mobile platforms such as Firefox and Tizen won't be enough to weaken Android's lead.

For smartphone vendors, Samsung continued its march to worldwide dominance. The company held on to the top spot in smartphone shipments, increasing its share to 30.8 percent in the first quarter from 27.6 percent one year ago with more than 64,000 devices shipped.

Apple's iPhone retained second place with more than 38,000 iPhones shipped for 18.2 percent of the market, while LG Electronics edged Huawei for third place in smartphone shipments with 10,000 devices, or 4.8 percent of the global market (Huawei shipped more than 9,000 units for 4.4 percent of the market).

Gartner's report reflects what some solution providers are seeing in the North American commercial space: more Android devices in the enterprise. Karl Volkman, chief technology officer of SRV Network in Chicago, said his company's mobile solutions practice is seeing Android adoption in the enterprise speed up.

"For a while, it was all Apple in the enterprise," Volkman said. "But looking at our clients today, there are plenty of Android devices and it's growing into a really good mix."

PUBLISHED MAY 14, 2013