By Jennifer LeClaire / Top Tech News. Updated August 07, 2013.
Look out Apple, Android is gaining ground. Look out Samsung, Windows Phone 8 is also posting wins. Those are some of the overarching takeaways from the IDC Worldwide Quarter Mobile Phone Tracker.
According to IDC, vendors shipped a total of 236.4 million smartphones in the second quarter. That's up 51.3 percent from the 156.2 million units shipped in the year-ago period. Second quarter shipments grew 9.3 percent when compared to the 216.3 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2013.
For starters, Apple is down. The iPhone maker beat Wall Street expectations on shipping volumes but nevertheless posted a year-over-year decline in the second quarter. At the same time, Android and Windows Phone both managed slight increases during the same period.
Should Apple Be Worried?
Apple's iOS finished the quarter as the clear second-place operating system -- showing that demand remains strong even without new product launches. What's more, Apple added new mobile operators to its camp, boosting short-term volumes and cementing long-term end-user relationships. What remains to be seen, IDC said, is how the new iOS 7 will be received once it reaches the market later this year.
"The iOS decline in the second quarter aligns with the cyclicality of iPhone," said Ramon Llamas, a research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Without a new product launch since the debut of the iPhone 5 nearly a year ago, Apple's market share was vulnerable to product launches from the competition. But with a new iPhone and revamped iOS coming out later this year, Apple is well-positioned to re-capture market share."
Microsoft's Small Victory
For Google's part, IDC said Android maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its Galaxy S IV. LG and Chinese vendors Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions. Combined, these vendors accounted for 62.5 percent of all Android-powered smartphone shipments during the quarter.
The biggest surprise may be Windows Phone. Microsoft's mobile operating system posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms -- 77% -- and in the process reinforced its position as the third-place smartphone operating system. Driving this result was Nokia, which released two new smartphones and grew its presence with multiple mobile operators. But beyond Nokia, Windows Phone remained a secondary option for other vendors. By comparison, Nokia accounted for 81.6 percent of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during the second quarter.
"Microsoft is making progress. Almost everybody wants to see Windows Phone succeed. It's just that it's succeeding in a very slow fashion," Roger Entner, a wireless analyst at Recon Analytics, told us. "I just had a conversation today with a carrier executive and we both agreed that if there wasn't Android or iOS, we would be all perfectly happy with Windows Phone. It is a very good operating system on par with the others. It's just that that the others were there earlier. They are still among the also-rans. It's the best operating system that nobody uses."
Microsoft's Small Victory
BlackBerry saw its market share decline during the quarter, reaching levels not seen in the history of IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. However, BlackBerry has shown steady progress since the launch of its BB 10 platform, which has grown to three models, additional mobile operators, and a greater presence within its total volumes. It is still early days for the platform, however, and BlackBerry will need time and resources to evangelize more end users.
"Last quarter we witnessed Windows Phone shipments surpassing BlackBerry and the trend has continued into the second quarter," said Ryan Reith, Program Manager with IDC's Mobility Tracker Programs. "Nokia has clearly been the driving force behind the Windows Phone platform and we expect that to continue. However, as more and more vendors enter the smartphone market using the Android platform, we expect Windows Phone to become a more attractive differentiator in this very competitive market segment."