Google's Android is still the reigning champion in the global smartphone fight, according to new datafrom Strategy Analytics.
Android captured an impressive 79 per cent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2013, extending its lead over rivals Apple and Microsoft. Overall global smartphone shipments rose 41 per cent annually to a record 990 million units last year from 700.1 million in 2012. Even so, global smartphone growth decreased slightly from 43 per cent in 2012, thanks to high penetration in major markets like the US.
"There is little doubt that 2013 was the year of Android," Strategy Analytics said in a statement.
About 781.2 million Android smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2013 — four times more than Apple and Microsoft combined. But Android's annual growth rate slowed to 62 per cent in 2013, its lowest level to date. Strategy Analytics said it expects Android's growth to slow even further in 2014 because of market saturation and competition from Microsoft and Firefox.
Apple's iOS, on the other hand, grew 13 per cent annually and nabbed 15 per cent market share during 2013 with 153.4 million smartphones shipped worldwide.
"Despite record volumes, 2013 is arguably a year that Apple will want to forget as growth slowed sharply and its new 5c model performed less strongly than expected," Strategy Analytics said.
Meanwhile, the two-horse smartphone race got a third competitor in 2013 — Microsoft. The software giant established itself as the smartphone industry's third major ecosystem, shipping 35.7 million units worldwide to capture 4 per cent market share during the year. But while Windows Phone is making a mark in the mid-range segment, it's still "struggling to gain traction in the low-tier and premium-tier smartphone categories," Strategy Analytics said.