Android Commands Half Of Smartphone Market

by , Aug 1, 2011, 1:45 PM
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Apple may have overtaken Nokia as the world's largest smartphone maker, but Android is unchallenged as the top smartphone operating system. U.K.-based research firm Canalys released findings Monday showing Android increased its market share to 48% of smartphone shipments in the second quarter. That figure reflects 379% growth from a year ago to 51.9 million units.

Android's dominance is especially pronounced in Asia. In South Korea, for instance, the Google platform enjoys 85% market share, and in Taiwan, 71%. Overall, smartphone shipments worldwide increased 73% in the second quarter from a year ago, to 107.7 million units.

With 20.3 million iPhones shipped in the quarter, Apple was a distant second with 19% share. Still, Apple's iOS platform for the first time overtook Nokia's Symbian operating system. A separate report from Strategy Analytics last week found Apple had dethroned Nokia as the No. 1 smartphone seller by volume, with an 18.5% share. Nokia fell to third with a 15.2% share, behind Samsung at 17.5%.

  'It's an impressive success story, given that Apple has only been in the smartphone market for four years," said Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys. "With the next-generation iPhone anticipated in Q3, it's likely that Apple's position will grow even stronger in the second half of the year." 

While Android and iOS gobble up share, Microsoft's newer Windows Phone platform is barely a blip on the radar. Windows Phone, which will not roll out widely on Nokia phones until next year, has captured just 1% share -- down 52% from a year ago (including Windows Mobile sales). Through the Microsoft-Nokia alliance, the next version of Windows Phone, called Mango, will power Nokia smartphones. 

Microsoft reportedly only took in only $613 million from sales of Windows Phone 7 handsets and other devices including the Zune. By comparison, revenue from the Xbox 360 platform was $8.1 billion. Microsoft said in January it had sold 2 million Windows Phone devices following their October 2010 launch, but has provided little sales information since.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion also continues to struggle. It saw an especially steep slide during the second quarter in North America, where its share has fallen to 12% from 33% a year ago. Canalys, however, noted that RIM's global shipments grew 11% last year and that BlackBerry still has strength in emerging markets, such as Latin America, Indonesia and South Africa, where it's still the top smartphone vendor.

"Nonetheless, it must continue to innovate and recapture lost momentum," the firm stated. "It's critical that the next-generation BlackBerry OS 7-based products launch ahead of the upcoming holiday season to compete in the market."

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