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New research on if the race for 3rd in mobile OS still matters


Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based research firm ABI Research’s recent smartphone study shows Android accounted for 80 per cent of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q2 2013.

The next largest ecosystem, Apple’s iOS, reached its lowest share in three years with 13.6 per cent of smartphones shipped in Q2. The race for third between Windows Phone (3.5 per cent) and BlackBerry 10 (1.2 per cent) is driven by the efforts of beleaguered OEMs Nokia and BlackBerry.

“When you consider that even the iOS ecosystem has lost share for three consecutive quarters, it is hard to envision a third ecosystem reaching critical mass, especially when its supporting OEMs are in dire straits,” says senior analyst Michael Morgan. Driven by billions of dollars in marketing and research, Nokia has pushed Windows Phone shipments from 6.5 per cent shipment share in Q2 2012 to 6.1 per cent in Q2 2013. Despite the 77 per cent growth in Windows Phone shipments, it is clear that Nokia’s herculean efforts to make Windows Phone the third largest ecosystem in Q2 2013 may turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory. The same could be said for BlackBerry’s efforts as the company considers its strategic alternatives.

The battle for the smartphone ecosystem requires more than just a good idea; it requires support from operators, content ecosystem and device OEMs, coupled with a clear market opportunity. While some new entrants such as Firefox OS, and soon Tizen, are bringing interesting ideas to push mobile computing forward, they face a difficult and expensive battle ahead. “It is evident that the mobile computing market is beginning to mirror the PC computing environment in that Android’s dominant OS share is driving a virtuous cycle that is squeezing the opportunity for competitors to achieve a critical mass of devices,” adds senior practice director Nick Spencer.