iphone-4-closeup

The IDC has released its quarterly report on the smartphone market, quantifying the technological horse race in which companies like Samsung, Apple, Nokia, Google, and Microsoft are competing to reach the most consumers with their smartphones and operating systems.

Here are some of the most notable aspects of the report:

1. The smartphone market is unlike the tablet market.

In May, I pointed out that the tablet market doesn’t yet resemble the smartphone market, in which Apple and Samsung are largely uncontested. Today the IDC reports that the two markets are dissimilar in another way — namely, how influential Apple’s products are on the market.

From the IDC’s report on the tablet industry, published Monday:

A new iPad launch always piques consumer interest in the tablet category and traditionally that has helped both Apple and its competitors. With no new iPads, the market slowed for many vendors, and that’s likely to continue into the third quarter. However, by the fourth quarter we expect new products from Apple, Amazon, and others to drive impressive growth in the market.

From the IDC’s report on the smartphone industry, published today:

Without a new product launch since the debut of the iPhone 5 nearly a year ago, Apple’s market share was vulnerable to product launches from the competition. But with a new iPhone and revamped iOS coming out later this year, Apple is well-positioned to re-capture market share.

The iPad line is so important to the tablet market that the IDC claims that Apple can drag down the whole industry by not releasing an update to its product line. The lack of a new iPhone, however, is seen as an opening through which competitors can release new products and capture consumer attention — and sales — uncontested.

2. Without Nokia, Windows Phone would be in fourth place

Microsoft overthrew BlackBerry as the No. 3 mobile operating system earlier this year, and has maintained that position in the IDC’s latest report. That wouldn’t be the case without Nokia, however, which the IDC credits for over 80 percent of Windows Phone devices shipped. Quoth the IDC:

[B]eyond Nokia, Windows Phone remained a secondary option for other vendors, many of which have concentrated on Android. By comparison, Nokia accounted for 81.6% of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during 2Q13.

Without Nokia, Microsoft would never have taken BlackBerry’s place in the market. (Which, frankly, isn’t all that much — Windows Phone accounts for just 3.7 percent of the smartphone market.)

3. Samsung isn’t just the world’s premier Android smartphone-maker

Samsung’s ability to dominate the Android market has been well-documented; the company’s products are so popular the conversation has largely changed from “Android versus iOS” to “Samsung versus Apple.” This can be seen from the IDC’s report, in which Samsung is listed as the No. 1 Android smartphone vendor, but that doesn’t mean that Samsung is a one-trick company.

Nokia is the only manufacturer to outpace Samsung in Windows Phone, which means that Samsung is the No. 1 and No. 2 vendor for both of the mobile operating systems it supports. As the company prepares to make Tizen, a Linux-based operating system that Samsung co-CEO J.K. Shin told CNET he would like to see in everything from smartphones to automobiles, the ability to excel in any market it enters could prove to be increasingly important to the company in the future.

[Image courtesy unsplash.com]