Few would doubt that 2012 was Android's year given how rapidly it grew, but it's good to have some context. IDC is more than willing to oblige. It estimates that Google's OS climbed from 49.2 percent of the smartphone space in 2011 to 68.8 percent in 2012. As we've seen in the past, though, most of that came from customers leaving embattled platforms, including a pre-BB10 BlackBerry and Symbian. Apple reportedly held its ground at 18.8 percent, while Microsoft appears to have turned a corner with Windows Phone by climbing back up to 2.5 percent.
The fourth quarter results paint a slightly different picture. Android still had a comfortable 70.1 percent of share in IDC's reckoning, but it took a hit from 75 percent in the third quarter -- similar to what we've seen elsewhere, the iPhone 5 launch helped iOS claw back enough share to hit 21 percent. BlackBerry and Windows Phone weren't quite so rosy, although they also didn't have full quarters with new devices to offer. We'll have to wait for the first quarter of 2013 to finish before we learn of any true shakeups in the status quo.