IDC's report for the first quarter of 2012 indicates that Google's Android continues to grow its market share to 59%, while Apple's iOS lags in second at 23%. Unsurprisingly Samsung has given the biggest boost to Android, accounting for a whopping 45.4% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide.

In total 152.3 million smartphones were shipped in the first quarter of 2012, of which 89.9 million were Android-based smartphones (59%), 35.1 million were iOS devices (23%), 10.4 million were Symbian-based phones (6.8)%, followed by BlackBerry, Linux, and Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile devices.

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Compared to the same quarter last year, Android's market share has increased dramatically by 145%, followed by iOS's modest increase of 88.7%. Google and Apple's gains come at the expense of Nokia and RIM, as Symbian and BlackBerry's market shares decreased by 60.6% and 29.7%, respectively. Indeed this is Symbian's largest ever year-over-year decline, however the decrease is hardly surprising since Nokia has now transitioned to Windows Phone 7.

Devices such as the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note and Galaxy SII are still highly sought-after, bolstering Android's and Samsung's numbers. HTC devices such as the One X and EVO 4G LTE have also been very popular, but have faced some hurdles due to patent disputes with Apple.

Android's incredible numbers are even more shocking when you consider that the hottest smartphone of 2012 has yet to start shipping. With pre-orders exceeding 9 million for the Galaxy SIII, it is likely that Android will continue to increase its global market share. However as the patent war between Samsung and Apple heats up, there could be casualties along the way.

For more information check out IDC's press release below:

Android- and iOS-Powered Smartphones Expand Their Share of the Market in the First Quarter, According to IDC

24 May 2012

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. May 24, 2012 – Smartphones powered by the Android and iOS mobile operating systems accounted for more than eight out of ten smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the mobile operating systems held shares of 59.0% and 23.0% respectively of the 152.3 million smartphones shipped in 1Q12. During the first quarter of 2011, the two operating systems held a combined share of 54.4%. The share gains mean that Android and iOS have successfully distanced themselves from previous market leaders Symbian and BlackBerry, as well as Linux and Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile.

"The popularity of Android and iOS stems from a combination of factors that the competition has struggled to keep up with," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends program. "Neither Android nor iOS were the first to market with some of these features, but the way they made the smartphone experience intuitive and seamless has quickly earned a massive following."

"In order for operating system challengers to gain share, their creators and hardware partners need to secure developer loyalty," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program. "This is true because developer intentions or enthusiasm for a particular operating system is typically a leading indicator of hardware sales success."

Operating System Highlights

Android finished the quarter as the overall leader among the mobile operating systems, accounting for more than half of all smartphone shipments. In addition, Android boasted the longest list of smartphone vendor partners. Samsung was the largest contributor to Android's success, accounting for 45.4% of all Android-based smartphone shipments. But beyond Samsung was a mix of companies retrenching themselves or slowly growing their volumes.

iOS recorded strong year-over-year growth with sustained demand for the iPhone 4S following the holiday quarter and the addition of numerous mobile operators offering the iPhone for the first time. Although end-user demand remains high, the iPhone's popularity brings additional operational pressures for mobile operators through subsidy and data revenue sharing policies.

Symbian posted the largest year-over-year decline, a result driven by Nokia's transition to Windows Phone. But even as Symbian volumes have decreased, there continues to be demand for the OS from the most ardent of users. In addition, Nokia continues to support Symbian, as evidenced by the PureView initiative on the Nokia 808. Still, as Nokia emphasizes Windows Phone, IDC expects further declines for Symbian for the rest of this year.

BlackBerry continued on its downward trajectory as demand for older BlackBerry devices decreased and the market awaits the official release of BB 10 smartphones later this year. In addition, many companies now permit users to bring their own smartphones, allowing competitor operating systems to take away from BlackBerry's market share. Although RIM has not officially released BB 10, initial glimpses of the platform have shown improvement.

Linux maintained its small presence in the worldwide smartphone market, thanks in large part to Samsung's continued emphasis on bada. By the end of the quarter, Samsung accounted for 81.6% of all Linux-powered smartphones, a 3.6% share gain versus the prior-year period. Other vendors, meanwhile, have been experimenting with Android to drive volume. Still, Linux's fortunes are closely tied to Samsung's strategy, which already encompasses Android, Windows Phone, and later this year, Tizen.

Windows Mobile/Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system.

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, May 24, 2012

Notes: Smartphone OS shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors. Unbranded phones, also referred to as "White Phones", are included.

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • http://twitter.com/dark_funk dark_funk

    88.7% is in no way a modest increase.  Still, incredible numbers for the green guy.

    • Not enough minerals

      yeah that's what i was going to point out

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/abhiroop-basu/ Abhiroop Basu

      It is when compared to Android's whopping increase. It's all relative.

      • Fairheart Wirasatria

        'whopping' (including the $110 crap galaxy y and similiar phone!). I say crap because i own one, and using it. take those crap phones out of the equation (including mine), will it still be 'whopping'?

        • John O’Connor

          and if we take the same crap (older) iProducts out too, what will we have. these numbers are in no way reflective of every make and model of a specific device out there, so lets can the vitriole

  • Laurens Van de Velde

    nokia has transitioned to wp7 not windows mobile

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/abhiroop-basu/ Abhiroop Basu

      Thanks for pointing that out. Updated!

  • fixxmyhead

    take that HTC stop trying to be #1 cuz u wont be

  • Derail Doax

    So Androids total sales was 89.9 million handsets. Which Samsung's share is 45.4% so that's means Samsung shipped 40.81 million phones versus Apples 35.1 million. Pretty sweet, Samsung is kicking some butt.

  • Asphyx

    I attribute the large share from Samsung as proof that Moto's bootloader locking stance has really hurt them badly.

    Moto makes some great hardware but those who run android are a consumer base that is highly interested in controlling their unit and software and Moto is shortening the lifespan of their units making people choose Samsung and HTC due to the fact you can easily develop for them and keep them current.

    Lets hope Google puts Moto back on the right track. I think Android is past the point where they need to kowtow to the carriers considering most of thier subscribers now insist on Android when they come in. What are they going to do only sell iOS and lose even more power or WinPhone7 that no one really wants?

    If Moto and the others unlock the bootloaders I'm msure the carriers will cry like babies for a month then put in their offers anyway because you have to sell what the people want to use and if you don't you lose those customers!

  • GBGamer

    Galaxy S3 will probably have more units sold than the iPhone. The only people who use iPhones anymore are:
    1. Fanboys.
    2. Rich snobs.
    3. People who want to appear rich
    4. People who have never given Android a chance, but are not fan boys.

    • pHyR3

      it is when the smartphone market itself grew by 50% and there's not much actual competition for iOS besides Android so they are able to swallow up a lot of Symbian, RIM etc. etc.

    • Fairheart Wirasatria

      so the Galaxy S3 is cheap then? and all people can afford it? or just for the rich snobs? because the S2 is way cheaper (almost half the price) and the spec is close to S3.

      • GBGamer

        The GS3 is for upper middle class and up, and you can get the GS2 is still quite a good phone, for much less. (Sorry for not replying, didn't realize I had any replies on this).

    • Bluscarab

      Actually, its because I can simply copy and paste mp3/mp4 files to my Samsung wirelessly over bluetooth while I'm sitting on the throne before I head out rather than having to use a clutzy itunes application on the puter in order to do anything.