With the latest Gartner research report comes yet another reaffirmation of Android's march to world domination. Google's open source mobile operating system now accounts for 74.4 percent of the world market, according to Gartner's Q1 report, a dramatic difference from its 56.9 percent share a year ago.
Apple's iOS is second at 18.2 percent, a drop from its 22.5 percent share at the same time in 2012. BlackBerry is way behind but in the coveted third place at 3 percent -- barely above Microsoft Phone at 2.9 percent.
A year ago, BlackBerry was 6.8 percent and Microsoft was 1.9 percent, meaning that both companies still have a lot of ground to achieve if they're going to stay in the race for third place. Bada and Symbian are barely hanging on, at 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.
Two Clear Leaders
Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement that there are two clear leaders in the OS market and Android's dominance among operating systems is "unshakable." He added that, with several new operating systems coming out, such as Tizen, Firefox and Jolla, the research firm expects "some market share to be eroded, but not enough to question Android's volume leadership."
For all mobile phone sales, Samsung remains on top at 23.6 percent, a slight bump over 2012's 21.1 percent. Nokia is second at 14.8 percent, a significant drop of slightly more than 5 points from Q1 last year. Apple increased slightly, to 9 percent from 7.8 percent, and LG Electronics, ZTE, Huawei, TCL Communication, Sony, Lenovo and Yulong are all in low single digits.
The impact of China on global mobile phone sales is clear in the report: China's sales "represented 25.7 percent of global mobile phone sales," an increase of nearly 2 percent year-over-year.
For smartphones, Samsung has increased its market share more than 3 percent to 30.8 percent, and Apple has dropped to 18.2 percent from 22.5. Competitors LG Electronics, Huawei Technologies, and ZTE are all in single digits.
Smartphones, as opposed to feature phones, now represent nearly half (49.3 percent) of all mobile phone sales worldwide. That's an increase from 34.8 percent a year ago and from 44 percent in 2012's Q4.
Gupta said that "feature phone users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphone prices to drop further." Either way, the result is the same: longer replacement cycles that do not bode well from carriers and manufacturers.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Corp, said that any previous qualms IT departments may have had about security issues relating to Android, or the multiple flavors of the OS, are being trumped by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. More and more, she said, IT departments are "acting as a service" to take care of the devices that employees bring in to work.
She also noted that "nobody is going to take Windows Phone seriously until they hit double digits."