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Samsung elevates Android to 68.1 per cent smartphone market share

Samsung has cut significantly into Apple’s mobile operating system market share, boosting Android devices to an incredible 68.1 per cent market share in the second quarter of this year, according to new data released by research firm IDC. The South Korean company accounted for 44 per cent of all Android handsets shipped in the quarter - that’s more than the volumes of the next seven Android-centric companies combined.

"Android continues to fire on all cylinders," said IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas, who focusses on mobile phone technology and trends. "The market was entreated to several flagship models from Android's handset partners, prices were well within reach to meet multiple budgetary needs, and the user experience from both Google and its handset partners boosted Android smartphones' utility far beyond simple telephony."

By contrast, iOS devices made up just under 17 per cent of smartphone market share during the second quarter. Despite a growth of nearly 30 per cent, that still amounted to a nearly 2 per cent decrease from the same time last year, as fans wait for the next generation iPhone, due for a release this autumn. Apple chief Tim Cook complained in July that the blogosphere’s rampant rumours about iPhone specs and design had led demand for the current model to slow over the past few months.

Still, the two operating systems are veritable powerhouses, between them running on 85 per cent of all smartphones.

"The mobile OS market is now unquestionably a two-horse race due to the dominance of Android and iOS," said IDC analyst Kevin Restivo. "With much of the world's mobile phone user base still operating feature phones, the smartphone OS market share battle is far from over. There is still room for some mobile OS competitors to gain share, although such efforts will become increasingly difficult as smartphone penetration increases."

Alternative mobile operating systems, like BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Phone, are powering through, but aren’t faring particularly well. At 4.8 per cent market share, BlackBerry’s position is less than half of the 11.5 per cent it claimed at the same time last year. Things are worse for Symbian, which dropped sharply from a market share of nearly 17 per cent last year to just 4.4 per cent this year’s second quarter.

Windows Phone growth is almost exponential, jumping from 2.3 per cent market share in the second quarter of 2011 to 3.5 per cent this year. And with the next version of Microsoft’s mobile OS set to be released this autumn, that trend could very well accelerate for Windows Phone.