Smartphone OS wars state of play: is Windows Phone now a credible third force?

Smartphone OS wars state of play: is Windows Phone now a credible third force?We don't really pay as much attention to smartphone OS market share numbers as we used to do here on Mobot.

That's partly because the story changes depending on whose numbers you're looking at, and partly because the story's always the same: Android is dominating, iOS is holding firm, and everyone else is fighting for a slice of the sum total of bugger all.

Well, not quite, but you get the picture.

But it does pay to keep some idea of what's going on, so we've delved into Kantar WorldPanel's latest smartphone OS figures for the three months ending in April for a sense of how the UK market is divided up these days.

The first point is a predictable one: Android and iOS are as dominant as ever – in fact, more dominant than ever. Together they shared 85.6% of all device sales over the quarter, up from 80.4% over the same period last year.

Android's share of that total has increased, however. It's up from 50.1% last year to 56.9% this, while iOS has slipped from 30.3% to 28.7%.

But it's the battle for third place behind the two leaders that, as ever, holds the real interest.

Windows Phone is now the third most popular OS in the country on 8.4%, ahead of BlackBerry on 5.6%. That's versus 4.0% and 13.6% respectively a year ago.

That may sound like doom and gloom for BlackBerry, but its market share was always going to slide dramatically during 2012, and with the BlackBerry 10 era only represented by a single device in the three months until April, and even then only in certain markets, it's not actually a bad showing.

As for Windows Phone, things are now at an interesting junction. The standard script so far has been that the OS hasn't nearly returned on the investment Microsoft and to a lesser extent Nokia have poured in.

People snigger about single digit market share and the painfully slow rate of progress, but the reality is that progress, although slow, has been largely constant too, and if that continues to be the case sooner or later Windows Phone is going to start hitting some serious numbers.

That's not to say it'll actually happen, as new handsets and OS versions are constantly emerging to affect things one way or another. But I'd wager many of those who've become used to dismissing Windows Phone based on its minority status would probably be quite surprised to hear its market share is now knocking on the door of double figures.

If you believe the numbers, of course...

Read more about: AndroidBlackberry OSiOSWindows Phone

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11 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 3, 2013 at 23:18

Having used the Blackberry 10 Z10 for 10 days or so, I gotta say: if Blackberry can pull that cart from the muck, I'd be seriously surprised. I'm not gloating. I wanted to really really like BB10. And I haven't burned the Z10 yet. But I should. The hub is overrated. The Swipe UI is not consistent enough, and they stopped at odd corners (a back button? Why can't we kill apps with a gesture? Instead you minimise to 'card view' and then you hit a tiny "x" to close... see what I mean? It's like buying screws but using a hammer.)

Apps are bad. So bad, I have come to despise certain Blackberry fanboys, who just cannot admit it. I have tried 2 dozen or so 'native' BB10 apps (all 4 out of 5 stars or better), another 10 or so Android ports, and 10 sideloaded Android apps. All. ALL bad. The ones that work best, are about as good as the Symbian apps on my old E71. And I'm being unfair to the Symbian devs. The Android ports? Go, try TapTu on BB10, and see how long until you cry...)

Anyhoo... Windows Phone 8 deserves 3rd space as it is. We'll see how Tizen and Sailfish come along.
Or maybe Brew comes back?

NOSPAMkk  Jun. 4, 2013 at 00:05

Great place to put junk over the image guys....

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 4, 2013 at 00:45

Great place to put junk over the image guys....

Yes. No. Pick one. Cause I don't know what you mean. (you mean something, right?)

satchef1  Jun. 4, 2013 at 01:14

BB10 being crap was predictable to be honest. There was no reason (short of pure goodwill and hope) for it to turn out to be anything other than ****. BBOS has always been dull and boring. Without hiring loads of new talent, it was always going to remain dull and boring. As Blackberry have little to attract the talented, creative software developers that they need, it was always likely to go this way.

Can't say I'm massively surprised by the Windows Phone news. Its marketshare has grown exponentially (but slowly) every quarter since launch. This is just a continuation of the trend. It will be interesting to see what happens when Blackberry and Symbian marketshare is fully eroded though. When it's down to just Android, iOS, Windows Phone and 'Others', will customers really turn away from Android and iOS in any significant numbers?

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 4, 2013 at 09:29

BB10 being crap was predictable to be honest. There was no reason (short of pure goodwill and hope) for it to turn out to be anything other than ****. BBOS has always been dull and boring. Without hiring loads of new talent, it was always going to remain dull and boring. As Blackberry have little to attract the talented, creative software developers that they need, it was always likely to go this way.

Can't say I'm massively surprised by the Windows Phone news. Its marketshare has grown exponentially (but slowly) every quarter since launch. This is just a continuation of the trend. It will be interesting to see what happens when Blackberry and Symbian marketshare is fully eroded though. When it's down to just Android, iOS, Windows Phone and 'Others', will customers really turn away from Android and iOS in any significant numbers?


Satchef... I kinda disagree. However, that is beside the point. The point is: it is SOOOO bad.
You really need to spend a few days with it, try apps. BB7 on the 9900 was better. I'm not kidding! Yes, BB10 probably has the best browser I ever used on a mobile, but that is not enough, is it?
An example of its badness: The Hub is supposedly a big dealio, right?! And look, they baked Twitter into the OS - it's right there in the Hub. But LOL: hit a notification in the Hub for Twitter, and NO, the Twitter app does NOT open. Only the post, and a little pop-up quick message entry box... Twitter's app is cut off from the Hub. In fact, the BB10 Twitter app is so bad, I laughed. No multiple accounts etc etc...It's very much like the first Twitter app for Symbian. Not a biggie for non-Twitter-users, but nonetheless, it shows the shoddy inconsistent design to BB10. Up to and including BB7, Blackberry OS had one very popular feature in addition to BBM and the keyboard: that was the menu! That very useful always-present menu that let you add pretty much any app shortcut, and so much more. Now: gone. replaced by a Hub, gestures, the worst pull-down notification bar (no, it has no notifications, for that you get the hub,,,,ahem. It's a toggle bar, but you still need to open the Settings app to make full use of those toggles)....

Nope... not good. Worse, much worse than BB7! THAT IS THE SURPRISE.
And I won't start on the BB appstore...

corgi74  Jun. 4, 2013 at 10:52

Got a 520 the other week mainly as a sat nav but also as a spare phone with an Ovivo SIM in it when I have no 3 signal and was really impressed by it.
Had a Lumia 800 when they came out and that lasted a month mainly due to the lack of apps. I can now find an app for everything I 'need' on a daily basis and find WP a more attractive option. So much so that I bought an 820.
Still use my iPhone on a daily basis but it's nice to change it up every now and then

OB1  Jun. 4, 2013 at 11:46

Great place to put junk over the image guys....

Yes. No. Pick one. Cause I don't know what you mean. (you mean something, right?)

I think he refers to the text you have positioned over the top of the image in this article (the table).....

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 4, 2013 at 12:10

Ah, right... Not a fan of our big tags, either. But nobody liatens to me ;)

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 4, 2013 at 15:06

Ah, right... Not a fan of our big tags, either. But nobody liatens to me ;)
Probably for the best :p.

matt101101 / MOD  Jun. 4, 2013 at 15:07

Great place to put junk over the image guys....

Yes. No. Pick one. Cause I don't know what you mean. (you mean something, right?)

I think he refers to the text you have positioned over the top of the image in this article (the table).....

Ahh, yeah...err *thinking of an excuse*...without redesigning the site there's no way around it?

Actually, I guess we could just remove the tags.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 4, 2013 at 15:19

Always the easy way, eh? :p

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