May 14th, 2013

Gartner has finished crunching the smartphone numbers for the first quarter of 2013, and the results are quite favorable for the Android regime. Beginning with worldwide smartphone sales by OS, Android accounted for 74.4% of smartphone units sold in Q1, a huge jump from the 56.9% it enjoyed in the same quarter a year ago. The closest competitor was Apple’s iOS, with the bitten fruit OS taking up just 18.2% of the sales compared to 22% a year ago.

RIM — now doing business as Blackberry — has seen better days than the measly 3% it pulled in the quarter. That is down from the 6.8% it managed in the same quarter a year ago, a telling figure considering RIM is banking on its new Blackberry 10 devices to help right the ship. We’re not sure how long it’s going to take for the company to gain momentum and get things swinging in the right direction again, but if Z10 sales remain low and the Q10 doesn’t move many more units RIM could find itself in a hole it can’t dig itself out of.

gartner q1 2013 smartphone os worldwide sales

Microsoft was able to improve with a 1% jump year over year, but going from 1.9% to 2.9% just doesn’t impress. This November, it will have been three years since the operating system’s launch. We all know Android didn’t take off right away, but it didn’t take nearly this long before Google’s operating system started to make waves and make Apple sweat. Windows Phone 8 is a staunch competitor up against the rest, but we’re starting to wonder if Microsoft was too late to the innovation train for its mobile OS.

The likes of Samsung’s Bada and Symbian are still dying, of course, with both not able to pull a full percentage point for the quarter after being able to do 2.6% and 8.5% in the same quarter a year ago, respectively.

Shifting focus to smartphone sales, Gartner puts Samsung in the lead with an impressive 30.8% for Q1, a jump from 27.6% the same quarter a year ago. The only other competitor to come close was Apple (again, going from 22.5% to 18.2%). LG has reason to celebrate as it improved its standing in the race, going up from 3.4% to 4.8%.

gartner q1 2013 smartphone vendor worldwide sales

The launches of the Optimus G and Optimus G Pro surely have much to do with that, and with more to come in 2013 LG could find itself closer to 10% by the end of the year. Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE both experienced moderate growth, as well.

Those wrapped up in the dreaded “others” category would include the likes of HTC, Motorola, RIM, Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, Nokia and a lot more. That collective group accounted for 37.9% of the pie.

Gartner doesn’t foresee the landscape of mobile changing anytime soon, mentioning that the introductions of Tizen, Firefox and Ubuntu will only affect the market in limited capacity. Android won’t have anything to worry about anytime soon, though, and while Apple continues to lose market share it will also have a big enough following to maintain a respectable second place. Head to Gartner’s site for the full breakdown if you’re interested.