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shipments

Windows Phone continues its ascent in the global smartphone race, at least according to shipment numbers released by IDC. While the increase in global market share continues for Microsoft’s mobile OS, perhaps the more interesting story is in individual markets.

IDC’s new numbers show that Windows Phone “posted the largest increase for both the quarter (46.7%) and the year (90.9%)” when compared to iOS and Android. That’s down from Q3, where shipments were pegged at 156%, but is line with year-end performance. The take away is that Microsoft has nearly doubled their growth.

Likewise, Nokia’s dominance of the Windows Phone market is confirmed again at that 90% number, which has had multiple corroborations at this point.

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The International Data Corporation has released a report showing an unexpected growth in the tablet market. Worldwide tablet shipments reached a record total of 52.5 million units in Q4 2012. This is the same quarter Microsoft chose to enter the competition with the Surface family of tablets, releasing the Surface RT tablet. But how did Microsoft perform in the first quarter of selling the product?

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Strategy Analytics is a global research firm out of Boston that studies various market trends. According the Strategy Analytics latest research, global mobile phones (which includes our Windows Phones) grew 1% annually to reach 362 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2012. Leading the pack was Samsung with 26% of the marketshare or 93 million mobile phones shipped world wide.

Nokia experienced a decline of about 1% but still was strong enough to come in second with 23% of the marketshare or 83.7 million units. Strategy Analytics Executive Director, Neil Mawston, notes:

"Nokia’s Windows Lumia family of smartphones has made a relatively encouraging start, but shipments are not yet high enough to offset rapidly fading volumes for its Symbian platform."

Keep in mind that this research looks at all mobile phones from the feature phones to the smartphones. So how do smartphones shake out in the research? According to a separate Strategy Analytics report on smartphones, global smartphone sales grew 32% annually to reach 146.1 million units in the second quarter of 2012.

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Last we covered the app 'Package Tracker' a simple but colorful program that allowed you to input a package tracking number and then enabled you check its status. We gave the app some great praise, mostly due to the UI and ease of use (plus, you can basically use it for free if you track less than 3 packages at a time).

However, its competition, 'Parcel Tracker' (see review) has added a killer feature: push notifications and a live tile. That makes Parcel Tracker a more "set it and forget it" app because now it'll notify you every time the shipment gets updated.

We've been using it for the last few days and it's worked pretty solidly for us, giving us a nice counter for missed notifications and in general, makes tracking our packages that much easier. Parcel Tracker is also better for international users because it has way more carriers available (of which you can disable for a shorter list, natch).

The app does fetch for $1.29 so we still like 'Package Tracker' for those of you who only use these kinds of things on occasion. But for those of us with Amazon Prime (hallelujah!), you'll probably want to give 'Parcel Tracker' and its push notifications a trial. Keep in mind though, the developer of 'Package Tracker' has said live tiles/notifications for his app may come as well. We'll keep an eye out.  Grab 'Parcel Tracker' here.

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