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Android and iOS now own record 92% of smartphone market

Google's Android and Apple's iOS mobile platforms together accounted for a record 92 per cent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to new data from Strategy Analytics.

Android, the undisputed leader of the industry, captured an impressive 70 per cent share of the global smartphone market in Q4 2012, up from 51 per cent a year earlier, the research firm said. Apple's iOS took 22 per cent during the period, and all other smartphone platforms combined accounted for the remaining 7.9 per cent.

"The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs," Scott Bicheno, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.

Phone makers shipped an estimated 152.1 million Android smartphones globally in Q4 2012, up from 80.6 million units a year earlier. For the full year, almost half a billion Android smartphones were shipped worldwide.

"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," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Apple grew 29 per cent annually, shipping 47.8 million smartphones worldwide in Q4, and 136 million in all of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

Overall, global smartphone shipments grew 38 per cent annually, totalling 217 million units in Q4 2012 from 157 million units a year earlier, the research firm said. For the full year, smartphone shipments reached a record 700 million units, increasing from 490.5 million units in 2011. Shipment growth slowed from 64 per cent in 2011 to 43 per cent in 2012 as smartphone penetration began to mature in developed regions like North America and Western Europe.

In other news, recent research from IDC revealed that while Samsung and Apple lead the market, Huawei and ZTE both made gains to earn a spot among the top five smartphone vendors in Q4.