Last year the number of smartphones shipped worldwide passed 1 billion for the first time, according to IDC, a research firm. In 2010 the four leading smartphone vendors, Nokia, Research In Motion (now BlackBerry), Apple and Samsung, represented four different operating systems. Nokia has since not only forgone its own operating system but sold its mobile-phones unit to Microsoft. BlackBerry is no longer among the leading makers. Samsung (the biggest supplier of phones using Google’s Android operating system) and Apple are both thriving, despite disappointing results in the most recent quarter. But the fastest growth is now in cheaper Android phones, notably in China and India.
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