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Android tops Q1 2013 'smart mobile device' shipments

May 13, 2013 — by Rick Lehrbaum 322 views

First-quarter 2013 shipments of “smart mobile devices,” including notebooks, tablets, and smartphones, swelled by 37.4 percent year-on-year to 308.7 million units, reports mobile market analyst Canalys. From the operating system perspective, Android grabbed a healthy majority of units shipped, at 59.5 percent.

Of the other leading smart mobile device OS vendors, Apple’s iOS accounted for 19.3 percent of Q1 shipments due to the company’s strength in both tablets and smartphones, while Microsoft’s OSes achieved an 18.1 percent share thanks to its strength in PCs combined combined with its continuing “challenger status” in smartphones, explains Canalys.

Of the three smart mobile device market categories tracked by Canalys, tablets showed the fastest year-on-year growth, at 106.1 percent, racking up 41.9 million units for the quarter. Apple held its lead in tablets, at 46.4 percent, although it lost market share to Android for a third consecutive quarter.


Q1-2013 shipments by device vendor (left) and by OS
(click images to enlarge; source: Canalys)


“Spearheaded by Google and Amazon, the commoditization of the tablet market has happened far quicker than that of the wider PC market,’ explains Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling. “Profit margins are being squeezed and vendors without a low cost structure will find it hard to compete. A solid range of must-have accessories and a software and services strategy are vital as vendors will increasingly need to make revenue around their devices.”

Smartphone shipments in Q1 slightly exceeded 216.3 million, continuing 2012’s strong growth trend, Canalys adds. Overall, Android devices accounted for 75.6 percent, and from the vendor perspective Samsung “dominated once again,” growing by 64.3 percent year-on-year, resulting in a 32 percent market share for Q1. On the other hand, Apple’s smartphone shipments grew a scant 6.7 percent year-on-year, amounting to “the lowest level since the launch of the original iPhone back in 2007.”

“Despite its slowing growth, Apple still shipped over 37 million iPhones,” notes Canalys principal analyst Pete Cunningham. “But HTC and Samsung have raised the bar with their latest handsets and Apple needs to respond with its next iPhone. The iPhone user interface is now six years old and badly in need of a refresh. Hardware-wise, the biggest dilemma that Apple faces is what it does with the size of the display on the next iPhone. It cannot afford to ignore the trend for larger displays in premium smart phones. We expect an increase on the iPhone 5’s 4″ display but are not anticipating a Phablet-style iPhone.”

Earlier this year, Strategy Analytics reported that Android powered nearly 70 percent of all smartphones shipped globally during 2012, ringing up nearly half-a-billion new Android-powered handsets during the year.

Notebook PC shipments totalled 50.5 million units, contracting 13.1 percent year-over-year. “The biggest decline was in Western Europe, where shipments reportedly fell by 25.2 percent on an annual basis,” according to the Canalys report.

With respect to the decline in Notebook PCs, “while there are macroeconomic factors that contribute to this ongoing trend, the impact of tablets must not be understated,” explains Canalys research analyst, Pin-Chen Tang. “The combination of ARM-based chipsets and Android has taken computing devices to new, lower price points. If Microsoft and Intel are serious about capitalizing on this exploding market, both will need to ensure that their OEMs can remain competitive on price.”

Canalys is an independent market analyst firm providing mobile market research services spanning smartphones, tablets, notebooks, netbooks, security, and app stores. For further information, visit the Canalys website.

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