The worldwide smartphone market passed the 300 million units per quarter milestone for the first time in Q2, although the swelling size of the market has not made life any easier for platform alternatives to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

According to IDC, vendors shipped a total of 301.3 million smartphones during the three months, up a healthy 25.3 per cent from the 240.5 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2013.

The lion’s share of these (255.3 million) were powered by Android, with faster-than-market growth of 33.3 per cent. While Apple saw its iOS shipment volumes increase by 12.7 per cent to 35.2 million, this still saw its market share slip by 1.3 percentage points.

Jointly, Android and iOS accounted for 96.4 per cent of the market.

“It’s been an incredible upward slog for other OS players – Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the 5 per cent share mark, while the backing of the world’s largest smartphone player, Samsung, has not boosted Tizen into the spotlight,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

“The biggest stumbling block is around getting enough partnerships in play – not just phone manufacturers but also developers, many of which are smaller outfits looking to minimise development efforts by sticking to the two big ecosystems,” she continued.

The growth of Android has been bolstered by lower-cost devices – 58.6 per cent of Q2 shipments were for smartphones that are less than $200 off-contract.

“With the recent introduction of Android One, in which Google offers reference designs below $100 to Android OEMs, the proportion of sub-$200 volumes will climb even higher,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Phone team.

IDC platforms