Survey: In Smartphones, it’s Android, Apple, or Bust

Is your company an Apple shop, or an Android one?

Because according to numbers released this week from research firm IDC, the smartphone debate is becoming an either/or proposition. The two main operating systems — Apple’s iOS and Google’s various versions of Android — powered 85 percent of all smartphones shipped in the last fiscal quarter of 2012.

“The market was [introduced] to several flagship models from Android’s handset partners, prices were well within reach to meet multiple budgetary needs, and the user experience from both Google and its handset partners boosted Android smartphone utility far beyond simple telephony,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in a statement.

Android phones made up 68 percent of the market, followed by iOS, at 17 percent. The largest handset maker was Samsung, which took 44 percent of the Android market, followed by Apple’s iPhone.

Those numbers show just how far two down the totem poll the two other major operating systems now are: Microsoft, which recently started working with Nokia, is set to launch its eighth operating system later this year, but is still well behind the curve — although eWeek reported that some analysts predict it’ll garner 10 percent of the market by the end of 2013. And BlackBerry, also gearing up for a new OS launch, has fallen all the way from its previous spot as the top system to less than 5 percent of the market today.

For field service operations that are either setting up mobile programs for the first time or considering switching vendors or handset models, it’s worth considering which operating systems are likely to be best-supported by an IT team. Further, the number of apps available on the top two systems so far outpaces the Microsoft and BlackBerry offerings that it may scare off some companies that would otherwise be interested in their phones.

Has your company made a wireless phone move lately? Let us know in the comments.

More: Is BlackBerry’s Tablet Too Late to the Field?

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ABOUT Ian Stewart

Ian is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.