Androids stays on top in smartphone sales

Posted at 9:43 PM, Feb 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-14 21:43:39-05

(CNN) — Android continues to dominate the battle to be the top smartphone system in the world, thanks in part to Samsung, which reigned as the top phone manufacturer for 2012.

Android grew its already significant chunk of the smartphone market to 68.8% last year, while Apple’s iOS operating system stayed comfortably in second place with 18.8% of smartphone shipments, according to new stats from research firm IDC. Together, the two operating systems accounted for 87.6% of all new smartphones in 2012.

According to Gartner Research Inc. there are thousands of Android handset models in every size and at every price imaginable, while Apple has released only six versions of the iPhone.

Last year Apple sold 130 million smartphones, while Samsung sold a total of 384.6 million phones, half of which were smartphones.

Apple released one new iOS phone in 2012, the much-anticipated iPhone 5. However, according to Gartner it was previous iPhone models, which dropped in price enough to make them a more appealing option in emerging markets, that accounted for much of Apple’s smartphone success. Even though Apple’s sales are growing, IDC points out that its year-over-year growth is actually slower when compared with the rest of the smartphone market.

Both BlackBerry and Windows are competing to win over smartphone customers with their new offerings. BlackBerry just released its long-awaited new smartphone operating system and two new handsets in January, and Microsoft debuted its Windows Phone 8 update at the end of 2012. BlackBerry must persuade its existing users to make the upgrade and win back some large companies, which were previously its biggest customers.

Overall, the number of phone sales in 2012 actually dropped 1.7% from the previous year, the first drop since 2009.

“Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said in a statement.

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