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Android now #2 in smartphone shipments

Mar 9, 2011  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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Gartner reports that among new smartphone shipments in 2010, Google’s Android penetration rate grew 888.9 percent, making it the second most common OS in new smartphones. As indicated by Gartner’s market share data (tabulated below), the top five smartphone OS vendors in 2010 were Symbian (37.6 percent), Google (22.7 percent), RIM (16 percent), Apple (15.7 percent), and Microsoft (4.2 percent).

Sales of all mobile phone categories in 2010 totaled 1.6 billion units, which was a 31.8 percent increase from 2009, adds Gartner. Smartphone sales, the main driver of this growth, increased 72.1 percent over 2009 and accounted for about one fifth of the mobile phones sold in 2010.

Android’s rapid ascent was fueled by “broad availability” of many high-end Android smartphones from HTC, Samsung, and Motorola, explains the market research firm.


Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2010 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2010  Units 2010 Market Share (%) 2009  Units 2009 Market Share (%)
Symbian 111,576.7 37.6 80,878.3 46.9
Android 67,224.5 22.7 6,798.4 3.9
Research In Motion 47,451.6 16.0 34,346.6 19.9
iOS 46,598.3 15.7 24,889.7 14.4
Microsoft 12,378.2 4.2 15,031.0 8.7
Other Oss 11417.4 3.8 10432.1 6.1
Total 296,646.6 100.0 172,376.1 100.0

(Source: Gartner; February 2011)

Although Android was able to overtake Nokia’s Symbian market share, “Symbian OS is also used by Fujitsu and Sharp as well as in legacy products from Sony Ericsson and Samsung, [so] this aggregated volume kept Symbian slightly ahead of Android,” explains Roberta Cozza, Gartner’s principal research analyst.

Meanwhile, the growing availability of the iPhone 4 helped the iPhone OS attain the number 4 mobile OS position for 2010, adds Carolina Milanesi, VP of research. “As a platform, iOS is in excellent shape,” adds “With every iPad and iPod Touch sold, Apple increases the profile of iOS with potential iPhone buyers and strengthens its developer ecosystem.”

“The smartphone market remains concentrated in advanced markets, where buyers have more disposable income and where networks are fast enough to support smartphones’ full feature sets,” notes Cozza. “Western Europe and North America accounted for 52.3 percent of global smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, with smartphones accounting for close to half of all handsets sold in these regions. Intense competition affected shares at the top of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2010, continuing trends that we have seen throughout 2010.”

“Strong smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 pushed Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) up in our 2010 worldwide ranking of mobile device manufacturers to the No. 5 and No. 4 positions, respectively, displacing Sony Ericsson and Motorola,” says Milanesi. “Nokia and LG saw their market share[s] erode in 2010 as they came under increasing pressure to refine their smartphone strategies.”

“Despite growing volume sales, RIM was unable to keep up with market growth,… and saw its market share decline to 13.7 percent in Q4 of 2010,” Milanesi adds. “It remains to be seen if [RIM's introduction of the PlayBook media tablet] will help RIM strengthen its ecosystem.”

Gartner’s 2010 market data for mobile phone sales market share by manufacturer appears below:


2010 Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users (in 1000′s)

Company 2010 Units 2010 Market Share (%) 2009 Units 2009 Market Share (%)
Nokia 461,318.2 28.9 440,881.6 36.4
Samsung 281,065.8 17.6 235,772.0 19.5
LG Electronics 114,154.6 7.1 121,972.1 10.1
Research In Motion 47,451.6 3.0 34,346.6 2.8
Apple 46,598.3 2.9 24,889.7 2.1
Sony Ericsson 41,819.2 2.6 54,956.6 4.5
Motorola 38,553.7 2.4 58,475.2 4.8
ZTE 28,768.7 1.8 16,026.1 1.3
HTC 24,688.4 1.5 10,811.9 0.9
Huawei 23,814.7 1.5 13,490.6 1.1
Others 488,569.3 30.6 199,617.2 16.5
Total 1,596,802.4 100.0 1,211,239.6 100.0

(Table source: Gartner, February 2011)

Apple’s growth in 2010 was “largely due to expansion into new countries and the ending of exclusivity deals, which has made the iPhone available through 185 communication service providers (CSPs) around the world,” explains Gartner. “The end of exclusivity deals also encouraged CSP competition on tariffs and data plans, making the total cost of iPhone ownership more in line with other high-end smartphones.” Gartner expects Apple’s main growth in 2011 to result from the addition of Verizon Wireless as a U.S. distributor.

“Apple will maintain a stable average selling price, which favorably impacts margins at the expense of market share opportunity. However, Apple is not targeting the mass market, which is a fundamental difference in approach from Android,” suggests the market research firm.

For additional Gartner data and analysis, visit the analyst firm’s website.
 

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