Mobile and tablet trends in 2012: The 10 biggest headlines of the year

Dec 12, 2012 | Mobile

In Western markets, it’s easy to forget that feature phones still dominate globally, but this is changing fast. Smartphone sales accounted for 40% of total mobile phone sales in 2012, up 47% on last year. The technology behind mobiles and tablets is evolving rapidly, with Android and Apple leading the charge in an increasingly competitive […]

In Western markets, it’s easy to forget that feature phones still dominate globally, but this is changing fast. Smartphone sales accounted for 40% of total mobile phone sales in 2012, up 47% on last year. The technology behind mobiles and tablets is evolving rapidly, with Android and Apple leading the charge in an increasingly competitive battle for consumer and advertising cash alike. This year tablets went ‘mini’ while smartphones got bigger, and mobiles began to catch up desktops in terms of web use and and ad revenue. As part of a review of 2012, we look back at the 10 most popular mobile marketing news stories and trends of the year.


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Apple continued its (increasingly bitter) battle with Android and Samsung for mobile dominance. The Korean manufacturer was hit by a $1bn fine in a copyright tussle with Apple that shows little sign of ending soon.
Android now accounts for 75% of all smartphones globally, but Apple still gets more engagement and spend from its users.
Apple also made an uncharateristic bluder with its wobbly native maps app leading to much soul-searching (and a number of sackings) at the firm.
Meanwhile, former phone kings Nokia and Blackberry continue to decline, with RIM now focusing on business users.
2012 also saw the introduction of super-fast 4G connections, heralding the next phase in digital media and marketing as speed and download barriers come crashing down.
View our top 10 biggest mobile and tablet headlines below.
Watch this space for updates on the top 10 advertising, mobile, search, social, ecommerce, multimedia, gaming and regulation news of the year- all coming this week.
Global mobile trends 2012: Smartphone sales up 47% as feature phones dip 3%
15/11/2012
Samsung has extended its lead over Apple’s iPhone in the global smartphone market, while Android now accounts for a massive 72% chunk of the smartphone OS market, according to new data. The research, from Gartner, found that worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a 3.1% decline from the third quarter of 2011.
Global mobile trends- Android now on 3 in 4 smartphones
05/11/2012
Google’s Android mobile operating system made up 75% of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2012, far ahead of Apple’s 14.9%, according to new data. The study from market analysis firm IDC attributed the jump in market share to the faltering market reach for Nokia’s Symbian platform and Research In Motion’s Blackberry mobile OS. According to the study Google Android smartphone shipments increased by 91.5% during Q3 2012.
Apple faces backlash over new iPhone mapping technology
21/09/2012
Apple’s new mapping technology, which replaces Google Maps, has come under fire from users and businesses alike for a myriad of inaccuracies and misplaced landmarks. Amongst a wide range of complaints surfacing on Facebook and Twitter include missing towns (Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull), wrong locations (Uckfield in East Sussex) and satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, being obscured by cloud. Some smaller roads and lanes do not even have road names and numbers in the UK. There is also no built-in information about public transportation.
Apple seeks US ban on 8 Samsung phones after patent victory
28/08/2012
Apple is seeking a ban on eight Samsung phones in the US, after winning a landmark $1bn copyright lawsuit. The move could have an impact on owners of Samsung phones, as the company could be forced to make major software and hardware changes, and help Apple’s battle for dominance against Google’s Android operating system, which accounts for two-thirds of the global market.
Google becomes mobile maker: $12.5bn Motorola Mobility deal gets green light
24/05/2012
Google has finally completed its $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility after regulators in China gave the deal a seal of approval over the weekend. Having announced the bid back in August 2011, it has taken nearly a year of negotiations and fending off inquiries from authorities to complete the move. It had been claimed Google would keep its Motorola subsidiary at arm’s length, but the appointment of long-time Googler Dennis Woodside as CEO of Motorola Mobility suggests a more inclusive operation.
Blackberry to focus on corporate customers after $125m loss
02/04/2012
Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry smartphones, has announced a new focus on business customers after it suffered a further $125m loss. The Canadian company made a net loss for the three months to 3 March of $125m (£78m), compared with a profit of $934m a year earlier. It has lost ground as its traditional business clients have switched staff to iPhones or Android smartphones.
Apple beating Samsung in mobile ad battle
20/11/2012
Apple has widened its lead over Samsung in terms of global ad impressions, despite the growing popularity of the Korean manufacturer’s devices, according to a new report. Adfonic’s Global AdMetrics Report for Q3 2012, shows that Apple and Samsung devices accounted for nine of the top 10 mobile devices by share of ad impressions. Apple’s share of ad impressions increased from 34% in Q2 to 37%, while Samsung’s increased from 23% in Q2 to 24%. This meant that, while Apple and Samsung both increased their share of global ad impressions quarter on quarter, Apple actually extended its lead by 2 percentage points, to 13 percentage points.
Android catching iPad in US tablet market
05/10/2012
One in four US adults now owns a tablet computer, with Android catching Apple’s iOS iPad, according to a new report. The study, from the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicates that about two-thirds of those who own tablets bought them in the last year.
Google targets ‘next billion’ with basic mobile web service Free Zone
09/11/2012
Google has launched ‘Free Zone’, a new mobile web service aimed at giving millions of people in the developing world to access the Internet (and Google’s ads) via basic mobile phones without data charges. The service will initially roll-out in the Philipines, in partnership with Globe Telecom. Free Zone gives users instant access to Google Search, Gmail, and Google+ on feature phones and smartphones at no cost via libre.ph. Users need a Google account to sign up.
For a full review of the year, including our pick or the top virals, oddest news and biggest marketing blunders, click here

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