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The smartphone market is increasingly becoming a two-horse race between Google and Apple, with little room left for competitors outside of Android and iOS.
The latest data from Strategy Analytics reveals that 70.1 percent of smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012 were Android devices, while 22 percent were iPhones. With the two platforms accounting for 92.1 percent of shipments, that left just 7.9 percent for all other operating systems, such as Windows Phone or BlackBerry.
"Combined together, Apple and Android accounted for a record 92 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally in the fourth quarter of 2012," said Scott Bicheno, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. "The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs."
The research firm's data found that although Apple saw its sales grow 29 percent year over year, its market share was down slightly, from 24 percent a year ago to 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Android, meanwhile, nearly doubled its shipments from 80.6 million units at the end of 2011 to 152.1 million in the holiday quarter of 2012. Android's share of the global market increased from an estimated 51 percent of shipments to 70 percent at the end of 2012.
In all, nearly a half-billion Android phones are said to have been shipped in calendar 2012. In comparison, Apple shipped 135.8 million iPhones in the same span.
"Android is clearly the undisputed volume leader of the smartphone industry at the present time," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. "Androidâs challenge for 2013 will be to defend its leadership, not only against Apple, but also against an emerging wave of hungry challengers that includes Microsoft, Blackberry, Firefox and Tizen."