Android remained the dominant mobile operating system globally last quarter, far outpacing Apple's iOS and other mobile platforms like Microsoft's Windows Phone and Blackberry, according to the latest report from research firm Strategy Analytics.

Global shipments of Android-powered smartphones in the third quarter stood at 268 million, up from 206 million in the same quarter a year ago, helping it claim a market share of nearly 84 percent, up from around 81 percent it claimed in the year-ago quarter.

Global Smartphone OS Shipments and Market Share

Global Smartphone
OS Shipments (millions)
Q3 '13 Q3 '14
Android 205.9 268.0
Apple iOS 33.8 39.3
Microsoft 10.3 10.5
Blackberry 2.5 2.3
Others 0.4 0.3
Total 252.9 320.4
Global Smartphone
OS Market Share %
Q3 '13 Q3 '14
Android 81.4% 83.6%
Apple iOS 13.4% 12.3%
Microsoft 4.1% 3.3%
Blackberry 1.0% 0.7%
Others 0.2% 0.1%
Total 100% 100%

Apple iOS's third quarter shipments came in at 39.3 million, also growing at a healthy pace from 33.8 million in the year-ago quarter. However, its smartphone market share dropped to 12.3 percent from 13.4 percent. Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, said the dip was due to the operating system's limited presence at the lower end of the smartphone market.

"Android's leadership of the global smartphone market looks unbeatable at the moment", Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "Its low-cost services and user-friendly software remain attractive to hardware makers, operators, and consumers worldwide".

Windows Phone and Blackberry came in third and fourth, respectively. While the former's global shipments stood at 10.5 million, marginally improving from 10.3 million in the same quarter last year, the latter saw its shipments dip to 2.3 million from 2.5 million.

Although Google's mobile platform remains the smartphone's undisputed king, its global market share is peaking, said Mawston, adding that unless there is an unlikely collapse in rival Apple iPhone volumes in the future, Android's global market share probably won't ever exceed 85 percent.

Overall, global smartphone shipments surpassed 320 million units in the third quarter of 2014, growing 27 percent when compared to last year. The report attributed the overall growth to robust demand of smartphones in emerging markets, particularly Asia, Africa, and Middle East.