In the global smartphone market, you have Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, and everyone else. During the fourth quarter of 2012 these two brands accounted for 92 percent of all smartphone shipments, according to Apple Insider.

A new Strategy Analytics survey reveals that 70.1 percent of smartphones shipped during the last quarter of 2012 were Android-based. Meanwhile, iOS accounted for 22 percent of the market. This left just 7.9 percent for all other operating systems, including Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

Says Scott Bicheno, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics:

The worldwide smartphone industry has effectively become a duopoly as consumer demand has polarized around mass-market Android models and premium Apple designs.”

During the previous quarter, Apple saw iPhone sales grow 29 percent year over year. Android, meanwhile, saw sales nearly double.

As Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics concludes:

Android is clearly the undisputed volume leader of the smartphone industry at the present time. Android’s challenge for 2013 will be to defend its leadership, not only against Apple, but also against an emerging wave of hungry challengers that includes Microsoft, Blackberry, Firefox and Tizen.

Personally, I’m surprised by just how much larger the Android market has become as compared to Apple’s iOS. After all, there is quite a difference between 70.1 percent and 22 percent. Still, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Cupertino or iOS. In fact, it presents Apple with a huge opportunity.

Growing these numbers, especially internationality, is said to be one of Apple’s main goals during the coming months. This is one of the reasons many believe that a lower priced iPhone is coming. By competing with Google’s Android across multiple smartphone pricing levels, Apple is likely to gain market share.

As usual, stay tuned.