Considering that the first Android handset was sold less than three years ago, (the rather prophetically named HTC Dream), it is a remarkable story of success that the platform now has almost 50 percent of the entire smartphone market.
Research firm Canalys has released figures for the second quarter of 2011 and they show that not only has Android a 48 per cent share of the market worldwide but it also revealed that Apple has overtaken Nokia as the world’s largest individual smartphone vendor.
Google acquired Android in 2005 and launched it on phones in 2008 and it is now used on almost all the major smartphone manufacturers, with Apple and Nokia being the major exceptions. Android was the strongest growth driver among all smartphone platforms with growth of 379 per cent year-on-year shipping 51.9 million units.
After Android, Apple’s iOS is the second largest smartphone platform, moving ahead of Symbian, with 19 percent of the market having shipped 20.3 million handsets in the second quarter of 2011 - thanks mainly to the success of the iPhone 4.
Globally, the smartphone market showed substantial growth in all regions with a 73 per cent year-on-year growth worldwide, shipping in excess of 107.7 million handsets in the quarter.
Samsung also moved ahead of Nokia as an individual handset manufacturer, however analysts at Canalys believe Samsung could have taken more advantage of Nokia’s demise.
“Samsung has failed to fully capitalize on Nokia’s weakened state around the world, as the Finnish company rides out a challenging transitional period. It’s the best placed vendor to grow at Nokia’s expense, taking advantage of its global scale and channel reach, but it hasn’t yet done enough to capitalize on this, particularly in emerging markets,” said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones.
Microsoft will be disappointed with its share of the market, shipping less than 1.5 million WP7 handsets in the three months, equating to a mere one per cent of the market. Most worrying for Microsoft is that shipments are down a huge 52 per cent on the same period last year.
Finally, looking at RIM, the Canadian company has had a troubling quarter with shareholders and staff calling for changes within the company. In North America its market share has slipped by a third to just 12 per cent, however globally, shipments grew 11 per cent year-on-year.
“It’s easy to be negative about BlackBerry in the US, but it’s important to remember that in other markets, particularly emerging markets, it continues to see significant interest and uptake of its devices, for example in Indonesia and South Africa where it is the leading smart phone vendor,” said Jones.
“Nonetheless, it must continue to innovative and recapture lost momentum. It’s critical that the next-generation BlackBerry OS 7-based products launch ahead of the upcoming holiday season to compete in the market.”