After a brief stumble in the final quarter of 2012, Android emerged stronger than ever in the first three months of this year, posting its largest-ever quarter.
According to Gartner, Android controlled a staggering 74% share of global smartphone shipments, up from 70% a quarter prior and 56% a year ago.
The market share of rival iOS dipped three percentage points to 21% in the first quarter of 2012, and will only fall farther as the release of the iPhone 5 recedes further into the past. With a new iPhone not expected till late this year, the next two quarters could see substantial declines in Apple’s market share.
The smartphone market continue to scale — overall smartphone shipments were up 43% compared to the same quarter in 2012 — but the iPhone is simply too expensive for many new consumers, who are increasingly coming from the developing world.
The average selling price of the iPhone has not budged downward to accommodate them. Android stepped into the void created at the low end of the market.
If anything, Android is primed to pick up even more market share, and it is plausible the iPhone’s market share has already plateaued (unless it goes forward with a rumoured plan to release a cheaper, stripped-down phone).
Windows Phone shipments were up up 121% compared to the same quarter last year, but Windows’ market share still fell to slightly less than 3%. Microsoft hasn’t gained significant traction in the market since the release of Windows Phone 8 in late October, and still trails Blackberry in global market share.
Here’s an alternate look at global smartphone shipments by platform. Not only is Android grabbing greater market share, it’s doing so in rapidly growing market.