Android Figure -Andrew Bell, Huck Gee, Scott Tolleson, Google

One of Android's biggest strengths is that it can run on phones of all shapes, sizes and price points, whether they're super high-end with quad-core processors and 3GB of RAM, or super affordable handsets designed for emerging markets. That strategy has helped propel Android to the number one smartphone operating system, a position it has held for years now. There doesn't appear to be any sign of a slowdown, however, and it's eating Apple's lunch according to new smartphone shipment market share data from IDC.


In fact, Apple's problems are visualized in the chart you see above. iOS had the slowest shipment growth around the globe during the fourth quarter of last year, despite record iPhone shipments.  Android's smartphone shipment market share during the quarter was 78.1 percent, according to IDC, up from 70.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012. Apple's iOS shipment market share dropped from 20.9 percent in Q4 2012 to 17.6 percent last quarter, even though shipment volumes increased.

"Apple has been criticized for not offering a new low-cost iPhone nor a large screen iPhone in 2013 to compete with other OEMs," IDC said, explaining the decline in shipment share. "IDC believes the company will release a large screen version in 2014, but will not altogether abandon the smaller 4″ screen of previous models."

Windows Phone's market share jumped from 2.6 percent to 3 percent, while BlackBerry's share fell drastically from 3.2 percent to 0.6 percent. Nokia was, as expected, the largest seller of Windows Phone devices with an 89.3 percent share of all Windows Phone shipments.

Combined, iOS and Android smartphones accounted for 95.7 percent share of all shipments during the quarter and 93.8 percent of all shipments during all of 2013, up from 87.7 percent of all shipments in 2012. Windows Phone's shipment market share is increasing, at least, but barely enough to make a crack at the larger players. Meanwhile, BlackBerry is going to have a very hard time making a comeback.