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August 14, 2012

Samsung sales killing Apple while the wait for iPhone 5 goes on

Android is swallowing up all non-Apple competitors to extend its lead in the smartphone market.

By Allan Swann

Mobile devices running Google’s Android smartphone OS accounted for 98.5 million units sold in Q2 2012, more than triple the next OS competitor, Apple’s iOS, according to Gartner Research.

Android continues to be dominated by Samsung’s smartphones, which accounted for 45.6 million units, 46% of the Android total. Demand for the new Galaxy S3 saw it sell 10 million units in the two months after its release, amidst supply shortages (see CBRs review of the Galaxy S3 here)

Samsung's Galaxy S3 has been the defining smartphone launch of 2012 so far
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has been 2012’s defining smartphone launch so far

Apple’s iOS, which powers the iPhone, saw 28.9 million units shipped, 18.8% marketshare. It sold 19.6 million last year, at 18.2% market share, illustrating just how much the market has grown in a short time.

Apple is seeing a weaker quarter while users await the iPhone 5, expected to be a generational shift for the company.

Samsung and Apple have no love lost for each other, and are fighting patent battles around the world. Apple is also removing any remnants of Google software from its operating system ahead of the iOS6 launch which is to accompany the iPhone 5 – rumoured to be released on September 12.

"Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the smartphone market, together taking about half the market share, and widening the gap to other manufacturers. No other smartphone vendors had share close to 10 per cent," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

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"In the race to be top smartphone manufacturer in 2012, Samsung has consistently increased its lead over Apple, and its open OS market share increased to one-and-a-half times that of Apple in the second quarter of 2012."

Former market leaders Symbian (Nokia) and BlackBerry (RIM) managed to ship just 9.1 million (5.9%) and 7.9 million (5.2%). This time last year the two companies has 22.1% and 11.7% market share respectively. Nokia and RIMs problems with their transitions to new operating systems has been well documented (see here and here).

"Declining smartphone sales is worsening Nokia’s overall position, as it had already lost the No. 1 position to Samsung in the previous quarter and is facing reduced profitability due to continuous declining sales of premium smartphones," said Gupta.

Samsung’s own Bada smartphone platform has doubled its sales in a year from 2.1 million to 4.2 million (1.9% to 2.7%). Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform saw a similar surge, from 1.7 million to 4.1 million 1.6% to 2.7%), far below industry expectations. It is set to unveil Windows Phone 8 in October, which will tie in to Windows 8. This should give the company a big boost, as carriers and users are looking for alternatives to the Android-iOS duopoly.

Overall, worldwide sales of mobile phones (both feature phones and smartphones) reached 419 million units in Q2 2012, a 2.3% decline from Q2 2011. Smartphone sales accounted for 36.7% of total mobile phone sales and grew 42.7% in the second quarter of 2012.

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