Apple, Android capture 92% of smartphone market
Dominating ... Apple's iPhone and a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 running Android. Photo: Bloomberg
Android and Apple smartphones captured 92 per cent of global sales in the fourth quarter, giving the two systems an effective duopoly, according to a research firm.
Strategy Analytics said global smartphone shipments grew 38 per cent annually to reach 217 million units in the fourth quarter, to bring annual sales to 700 million.
Android, the free operating system developed by Google, grabbed 70 per cent of the market in the final three months of the year, while Apple's iOS used on its iPhone held 22 per cent.
The news bodes ill for rivals such as BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which is launching its new platform this week, and Microsoft, which is pushing its Windows Phone 8 system.
"Android is clearly the undisputed volume leader of the smartphone industry at the present time," said Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston.
"Android's challenge for 2013 will be to defend its leadership, not only against Apple, but also against an emerging wave of hungry challengers that includes Microsoft, Blackberry, Firefox and Tizen."
The survey noted global shipment growth slowed from 64 per cent in 2011 to 43 per cent in 2012, as regions such as North America and Western Europe matured.
Scott Bicheno, analyst at Strategy Analytics, said the latest trends showed "the worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarised around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs".