By Christiane Pütter
Interest in smartphones remains high. Market studies indicate that Android is the undisputed leader when it comes to operating systems.
Sepia_53 sums it up well: “There aren’t very many users who want to lug around a cumbersome PC when they’re on the go.” The user was commenting on the newest numbers from the smartphone market. The statistics reveal an unwavering enthusiasm for mobile devices: According to American market researcher Gartner, around 419 million mobile devices were purchased worldwide between January and March 2012.
Two large providers dominate the market: Samsung and Nokia
Samsung sold almost 87 million handheld devices, Nokia nearly 83 million. Together, the two companies enjoy more than 40 percent market share. Compare: Apple sold around 33 million devices, which represents a market share of roughly 8 percent; and RIM, having sold less than ten million devices, comes in at barely 2.5 percent market share.
Analysts also kept a keen eye on the market performance of different operating systems in the first quarter of 2012. Android was the clear winner here too. Developed by the Open Handset Alliance, Android software has achieved a global market share of 56 percent. Apples iOS was relegated to second place with 23 percent market share, ahead of Symbian and RIM with 9 percent and 7 percent market share respectively.
Compared with the previous year’s figures, Android’s triumph becomes even more impressive: In the first three months of 2011, Android had only 36 percent market share, says Gartner.
But enough of the global data. Market researcher Nielsen scrutinized the American market, and Android = clearly dominates there as well. Almost half of all users (48 percent) said they own a device that runs on this operating system. Nearly one-third (32 percent) has an iPhone, while only one in eight (12 percent) uses Blackberry.
Why is Android so successful?
Because of the so-called BYOD trend, say the analysts at the American research company Yankee Group. BYOD is short for “Bring your own device” (to the office). In other words: More and more people are using their smartphones, notebooks, or tablets at the workplace as well as privately. And because the majority of these users prefer Android, this mobile operating system has become the most popular – despite the fact that company bosses would prefer to see them use Blackberry instead. Yankee Group believes that sooner or later, it will be the users – and not the business makers – who will decide on what kind of IT companies use.
But Android should not rest on its laurels, Yankee Group warns. Apples iOS is waiting to pounce. Although its market share is currently far from Android’s, almost a third of all users who plan on buying a smartphone in the next six months are seriously considering an iPhone. So mobile operating systems remains a hot topic.