Android Grew at Double iPhone Rate in 2012

Android and iOS continued to dominate the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2012, with both systems combining to ship more than 91 percent of all smartphones, or 207.6 million units, during  that time, analyst firm IDC reported today. Although both operating systems continued to grow, Android did so at more than double the rate of iOS.

The fact that both operating systems so thoroughly outpaced the competition isn't necessarily huge news. The brands' nearest competitor, BlackBerry, shipped four times fewer units than Apple and a mind blowing 15 times fewer units than Android. The real news is in how much Android grew in 2012.

According to IDC, Android, which powers smartphones made by Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony, saw its growth increase by 104 percent in the past year. That growth was primarily driven by massive sales of Samsung's devices, which made up some 42 percent of all Android smartphone units shipped.

Apple wasn't exactly resting on its laurels, growing 46 percent in 2012. IDC points out that the iPhone's growth appeared to slow in relation to the overall market. The firm mentions that speculation persists about the possibility of lower cost and larger screen iPhones coming in 2013.

News was upbeat for Microsoft, which saw its Windows Phone OS grow by 98.9 percent in 2012, increasing its market share from 1.8 percent in 2011 to 2.5 percent in 2012. As expected, BlackBerry took a nosedive in 2012, seeing a 36.4 percent decrease in growth. BlackBerry's market share also plummeted  from 10.3 percent to 4.5 percent. Those numbers may turn around in 2013, however, if the company's new BlackBerry 10 operating system and related devices take off. 

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.