Nearly three out of four smartphones in the world are now running on Google's Android operating system, according to a new report on third quarter sales.
Android now accounts for 72.4 per cent of the market for smartphone operating systems, up from 52.5 per cent in the period a year earlier. A big chunk of that gain was attributed to Samsung, which sold 55 million smartphones. The bulk of Samsung's smartphones run on Android.
Meanwhile, Apple, whose devices run on iOS operating system, sold more than 23.5 million phones during the same period, up from 17.3 million a year ago. Apple's operating system market share slipped from 15 per cent in 2011 down to 13.9 per cent.
Gartner says that could be because users around the world may have held off on buying a new phone as they waited for the iPhone 5 to arrive in their countries. The research firm says it expects the Cupertino company to have a strong fourth quarter as it usually does and regain market share.
Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system was similarly affected as many users held off on buying smartphones running Windows Phone 7, instead opting to wait for new Windows Phone 8 devices. That led to a decline in sales compared with the second quarter.
But with the rollout of Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system this month, Microsoft could regain some of the lost market share in the current, fourth quarter.
In total, smartphone sales grew nearly 47 per cent in the third quarter compared with a year ago, and now account for nearly 40 per cent of all mobile devices.
But Gartner predicts that mobile phone sales will have a weaker than normal showing this holiday season.
"Consumers are either cautious with their spending or finding new gadgets like tablets as more attractive presents," the firm says in its report.
Meanwhile, total mobile sales, meaning smartphones as well as non-smartphones, declined for the second quarter in a row, falling 3.1 per cent over the year, as non-smartphone sales slipped 21 per cent.
Los Angeles Times