2013 is just three months old, but so far, the telecommunication field has been so awash with new developments, rumors, inventions, surprises and disappointments. The most notable in the field is the fight for the smartphone market. There have been a number of studies over the past couple of months that suggest that smartphones and tablets are going to replace laptops and desktop computers at home, school and work. As smartphones become more and more powerful, they easily and conveniently handle tasks that only computers could handle once upon a time.
Android is the leading smartphone and tablet operating system, with Apple’s iOS coming far second. According to a report compiled by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech after interviewing mobile users in the US, Android dominates the smartphone and tablet market with a 51.2% lead. This figure, of course, is lower in percentage compared to the operating system’s global market share which stood at over 74% in November last year. According to the report by Kentar, Android smartphone sales have risen by 5.8% over the last year, while its major competitor’s dropped by 3.5% over the same period. Apple’s iOS currently hangs on to a 43.5% market share, 7.7% behind Google’s Android.
The report’s figures are solely based on the sales of smartphones from December 1st 2012 to February 28th 2013. Back in 2012, iOS dominated the smartphone market with a 47% share closely followed by Android at 45.4%. Other operating systems shared the remaining 7.6% as follows: RIMS’s BlackBerry 3.6%, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 2.7%, Symbian 0.5% and others 0.8%. In 2013, the figures stood at 4.1% for Microsoft’s windows, RIM takes 0.7%, Symbian takes 0.1% and others share the 0.4%.
RIM’s launch of its new line of smartphones and new operating system BlackBerry 10 has definitely shaken up the market shares, slightly in its favor, since the data were collected. Android’s introduction of a number of high end smartphones and phablets over the last month should have also gained it more numbers since the data for the report were collected. The biggest losers over the last month are Microsoft and Apple since there haven’t been any changes in their devices in the market. Things will shake up even more – to the benefit of Android – once Samsung’s flagship smartphone Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One hit the shelves later this month and next month.
Another area where companies are fighting tooth and nail to outdo each other is the carrier market. According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s report, Verizon is the most dominant carrier in the US with 35% of smartphone owners subscribed to its services followed by AT&T at 26.7%. Sprint Nextel comes third with 15% and T-Mobile comes fourth with 9.8%. The remaining 13.5% is shared by other networks. Despite the lead, Verizon lost about 1.2% of its subscribers over the last year while the second most popular network, AT&T, lost 3.7%. Sprint and T-Mobile were the gainers with 2.9% and 0.5% respectively.
T-Mobile’s recent move to introduce UNcarrier tariffs that shift away from contract-based billing to Pay-As-You-Go may shake the percentages – a little or a lot – but we cannot know this since the study was carried out before the company introduced their new plans.
The focus at this moment should be on the smartphone wars. 2013 is the year that kings will be made and losers will fall. Samsung has proven to carry the flag of Android – in the US and the world, but will Apple come up with a strategy to keep their market share above 30%? Only time will tell.