[Android climbs to 81.0% market share, iOS drops to 12.9%, and Windows Phone staggers up to 3.6% according to the latest IDC numbers.]

Google's Android operating system reached a new milestone during the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. With a total base of 211.6 million smartphone units shipped during the quarter, Android accounted for 81.0% of all smartphone shipments, marking the first time that Android topped 80% in its short history. Despite high saturation rates in a number of mature markets, the overall smartphone space grew 39.9% year-over-year in the third quarter.

Also reaching a milestone was Microsoft's Windows Phone, which grew an amazing 156.0% year over year. Granted, volumes started from a small base of 3.7 million units a year ago and overall market share is still less than five percent. But Microsoft's efforts, with Nokia's support behind it, helped drive the platform into multiple tiers and price points.

"Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward."

Android pushed past 80% market share for the first time in 3Q13, a testament to its broad and deep list of vendors, including four of the top five vendors worldwide. While Android, as a whole, moved forward, the vast majority of its vendors still struggle to find meaningful market share. Samsung accounted for 39.9% of all Android shipments for the quarter, while the rest of the vendors either saw single-digit market share or, in the case of the majority of vendors, market share of less than 1%.
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--jeremy