If you think RIM is going to have an easy time penetrating the smartphone market with its BlackBerry 10 platform, Google and Apple would like to point out the latest smartphone shipment figures from Q4 2012. According to Strategy Analytics, Android and iOS accounted for 92% of worldwide smartphone shipments in the last quarter, and over 85% over the course of 2012. Considering the number of total number shipped nearly doubled, from 490 million in 2011 to 700 million in 2012, the increase, especially on the part of Android, is even more astounding.
Android smartphones comprised 70% of all smart devices shipped in Q4, amounting to 152.1 million for the three-month span. iPhones made up much of the rest, coming in at 47.8 million devices shipped, or 22% total.
While these numbers are quite impressive on their own, what they tell us indirectly is that the smartphone game is becoming more of a two-horse race than any time in recent history. While Symbian was the predominant player for much of the early 2000’s, Nokia has slipped back to the single-digit percentage mark as the company has transitioned to Windows Phone. Similarly, RIM’s BlackBerry OS platform has also dropped to single-digit market share in larger markets such as the U.S. and Asia.
With that said, RIM’s return to the market with BlackBerry 10 will be inevitably fraught with some growing pains as the company struggles to convince recent adopters of Android and iOS devices to return to the fold they were once so loyal to. It will be very interesting to see what this chart looks like a year from now.