Here’s a shocker, or not. Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS together accounted for a whopping 92 percent of global smartphone shipments in Q4 of 2012, according to a report by Strategy Analytics.

As reported by TechCrunch, the analysers said 152.1 million Android smartphones were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012, nearly double last year's figure of 80.6 million. In Q4 alone, Android held a staggering 70.1 percent of the global smartphone operating system market share. Google's OS has seen a steep climb since Q4 2011, when its market share was only 51 percent.

Well, that escalated quickly!

Well, that escalated quickly!

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, described Android as the ‘undisputed volume leader’ of the smartphone industry. ”Android’s share of the global smartphone market has surged… crushing Symbian, Bada and other platforms in its wake,” Mawston said in a statement.

This year, though, Mawston predicts that Android will have to fight to defend its position from upcoming platforms. “Android’s 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,” he wrote.

Apple, on the other hand, came in second position with 47.8 million handsets shipped this quarter—not too much of an increase since last year, when it shipped 37 million handsets. Despite an increase in handset shipments since Q4 last year, iOS' market share fell by over one percent to 22 percent this year vis–à–vis last year's 23.6 percent. This fall could be attributed to the breakneck speed at which Android is growing.

The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarised around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs,” said Scott Bicheno, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Global smartphone shipments on the whole have seen a 38 percent growth to reach 217 million units in the last quarter of 2012, but the study notes that annually, the growth fell from 64 percent to 43 percent this year. The report attributed this fall to smartphone penetration beginning to mature in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe.

This year will see newer competitors—and some reinvented ones like BlackBerry—trying to challenge the ‘duopoly’ iOS and Android have on the global smartphone market. Now, whether a David will be able to stand up to Goliath is something only time will tell.

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