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Android is expected to catch up to iPhone by mid 2011

The smartphone world is changing and it's changing fast. Companies that were big performers for years are now seeing their profits and market share slide precipitously. Among the companies are Microsoft and Palm.

Palm was recently purchased by HP and Microsoft is seeing the market share of its Windows Mobile offerings plummet as phone makers migrate to open platforms like Android. Android devices are burning up the global market and in the U.S., Android has now outpaced the iPhone in market share for Q1 2010.

The global market for smartphones is very similar reports 
Reuters. Android was the fourth most popular operating system sold globally in Q1 2010 according to Gartner. That puts Android's global reach ahead of Microsoft's mobile OS and Android is gaining on the iPhone quickly on the global market. 

As the Android OS grows in popularity, more and more developers are working on apps for the OS. Chris Moore from Redpoint Ventures said, "I am quite impressed by the traction the Android ecosystem is getting." He goes on to say, "I want to say that on the current trajectory, they (Android) will pass the iPhone platform, or at least reach parity by the end of this year or middle of next year."

The most pressure is definitely being put on Microsoft in the global smartphone market. The company is the only one who charges handset makers a licensing fee for its smartphone OS. More and more companies that traditionally built Windows Mobile devices are looking to Android as a free and more popular alternative.

In addition to looking at the reach of smartphone OS' globally, 
Gartner also looked at the most popular device makers around the globe. Nokia still holds the top spot with 35% of the global handset market. Samsung is next with 20.6%, LG has 8.6%, RIM has 3.4%, and Apple takes seventh place on the list with 2.7% of the market. The top smartphone OS in the world is Symbian with 44.3% of the market, Blackberry OS is next with 19.4% of the market, iPhone has 15.4% of the market, with Android at 9.6% of the market. Windows Mobile has 6.8% of the smartphone OS market.

"In the first quarter of 2010, smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at 
Gartner. “This quarter saw RIM, a pure smartphone player, make its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and saw Apple increase its market share by 1.2 percentage points. Android’s momentum continued into the first quarter of 2010, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707 per cent year-on-year."

Milanesi went on to say, "Growth [for Apple] came partly from new communication service providers in established markets, such as the UK, and stronger sales in new markets such as China and South Korea. The second quarter of 2010 will be a very important one for Apple. We expect that Apple will present its new iPhone in June during its Worldwide Developer Conference, which will be the first to feature the latest release of the iPhone OS that includes welcome improvements for developers and users, such as multitasking."



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No surprise here
By RjBass on 5/19/2010 11:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
Those of us watching the market for the past year saw this one coming. When you have company's selling evenly matched or better hardware phones as the iPhone and the better OS with Android, then it's only to be expected.




RE: No surprise here
By Calindar on 5/19/2010 11:34:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not surprised either. Android is sporting better hardware, better OS, and new phones every day. The iPhone sits stagnant with out dated technology for half the year. Androids rise will continue.


RE: No surprise here
By MrX8503 on 5/19/2010 12:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Android is sporting better hardware, better OS , and new phones every day. The iPhone sits stagnant with out dated technology for half the year. Androids rise will continue.


When an OS is choppy, I'd hardly call it a better OS, I call it annoying. With Android being on all carriers, on top of releasing many phones every few months, it was inevitable that Android would outpace iPhone OS. I think Android has made great strides in taking the iPhone down, but people should really give credit where its due. The iPhone is 1 phone on 1 carrier, and look at the damage it has done in sales.


RE: No surprise here
By RjBass on 5/19/2010 12:30:56 PM , Rating: 5
The iPhone achieved it's status because Apple came out with a new device that put all others to shame at the time. However innovation breeds competition and the latest editions of Android based phones stomp out all other devices. While the iPhones current offerings are still pretty cool, it doesn't meet everybody's needs and thus they turn to Android. When you can get a phone that seems to do everything the iPhone does, plus includes support for Flash, and has a development ring that is more free and open, then the result is a better device with more to offer.


RE: No surprise here
By MrX8503 on 5/19/2010 1:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
Open development vs Closed development. There are drawbacks and advantages of both. Hopefully Google can up the quality of the Android Market quickly, but I think there still needs to be a better system to sift through all the garbage apps out there.


RE: No surprise here
By RjBass on 5/19/2010 2:32:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well since I am not on an Android based phone yet (still using Win Mobile 6.1) I have yet to see how the Android market looks and feels. From what I hear it's pretty awesome, but I have only used the iTunes market for my kids iPhones. I have been waiting very patiently for AT&T to come out with some more Android based devices so that I can finally make the switch. I should have just jumped ship and went to Verizon when I had the chance, but I blew it.


RE: No surprise here
By Calindar on 5/19/2010 12:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
Which OS is choppy? Certainly not Android, I don't have any choppiness on my Droid. And if "choppy" is the only rebuttal you can come up with, that pretty much proved my point doesn't it?


RE: No surprise here
By MrX8503 on 5/19/2010 1:16:04 PM , Rating: 1
Android OS is choppy. Look at the Anand's review on the Droid Incredible. Launching apps seem to be fine, but animations and scrolling is choppy. I'm thinking that Froyo will fix this, but as it stands now, its choppy when I used the Incredible and it was stated as choppy in the review.


RE: No surprise here
By mckinney on 5/19/2010 2:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
I had a very difficult time with the Droid. At times, it wouldn't let me answer the phone. Navigation could have been more intuitive. I didn't think the browser was as smooth as the iphone either.


RE: No surprise here
By PrezWeezy on 5/19/2010 3:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
How about cluttered and unintuitive? I'm not saying Android is terrible, but in my opinion the screen is cluttered, checking which apps are running doesn't make sense to me as a swipe method, little things like that. I don't think the Android is as polished on the surface as the iPhone is. I don't use either, but that's just what it seems to me. As a business phone, it's still not on the level of WinMo or BB.

Just my opinion.


RE: No surprise here
By GaryJohnson on 5/19/2010 3:38:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
the screen is cluttered

The screen is configurable. You can make it as cluttered or uncluttered as you want.


RE: No surprise here
By xmichaelx on 5/19/2010 3:44:44 PM , Rating: 2
Android is only as cluttered as you choose to make it. And swipe functions are programmable, so that's nothing to complain about either.


RE: No surprise here
By dani31 on 5/19/2010 1:02:01 PM , Rating: 4
I think Symbian is generally underestimated.

Like MS and Palm, Nokia was a sleeping giant but unlike them woke up in the last moment.

Symbian is still the top OS and it is now open source just like Android. Now there is a clear development roadmap.
They are pushing Ovi Store with 400k worth of prizes for app development.
They own Navteq and give navigation for free worldwide. Google is stil geographically limited.
Hardware wise they will return to the top with the N8.

So I see Android and Symbian the top players, with RIM maintaining it's business stronghold. We shall see in one year time, I guess.


RE: No surprise here
By themaster08 on 5/20/2010 5:23:51 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree more. I've been a long time fan of Nokia and Symbian, and they're still on top, selling more than 3 times as many than the manufacturer in second.

I also use Android, and whilst it's plain to see how much more advanced Android is, Symbian still holds its own. Multitasking is far superior on the Symbian OS for starters. Switching between wireless services is also far better in my opinion. Storage management is also far better.

The N8 will most definitely be my next device when I renew my contract, although I am becoming extremely fond of Android.


RE: No surprise here
By mckinney on 5/19/2010 2:03:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The most pressure is definitely being put on Microsoft in the global smartphone market. The company is the only one who charges handset makers a licensing fee for its smartphone OS.


Because of this, Android handsets should be cheaper. Instead of Google or the end user pocketing the change, the handset builders are making more money. Honestly, I think MS has a tough road infront of them in the mobile phone market. It is getting carved up like crazy and they will need to have an awesome product and solutions for apps, music, video and books. I dont think they can get by with just the OS anymore. They need the whole package....


RE: No surprise here
By bruce24 on 5/19/2010 11:58:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those of us watching the market for the past year saw this one coming.


I agree, but not for the reason you stated, but simply because almost all the wireless carries are selling Android based phones and in many cases multiple models of Android based phones.



RE: No surprise here
By corduroygt on 5/19/2010 4:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
Better OS for geeks maybe, but certainly not for the average user.

It sells more because it's on more phones, and the Android phones are cheaper. Simple math.

Tried out the HTC incredible and it's not even close to the iphone OS for intuitiveness and user friendlyness.

If you discredit my opinion since I've been using the iphone and may be partial to it, the same sentiment was shared by my girlfriend and her sister, who are NOT iphone users, and they said the HTC wasn't even close. One is a medical research scientist at Columbia University and the other is a wealthy Wall Street Analyst, so they're not dumb either. They're just not geeks, and iphone is better for the non-geeks.


RE: No surprise here
By Exodus220 on 5/19/2010 10:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
Your three examples are not sufficient to prove that the Android OS is less intuitive or friendly than the iPhone OS. Certainly Apple has had several years to perfect their OS, but your attempt to prove Android OS is for geeks doesn't cut it. For all I know, you made up those two people...who cares what their professions are...my 12 year old sister, 14 year old brother, 17 year old sister, hospital administrator mother, high school administrator/soldier father, and myself (elementary administrator) all love our Android OS phones and find them incredibly simple to use. Hah, I have more people that like it, so does that automatically make it true?


RE: No surprise here
By Exodus220 on 5/19/2010 10:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I my brother and father-in-law have either an iPhone or iTouch and when I attempt to use it I feel like throwing it because it is so confusing or restrictive. I considered buying one but am glad I waiting to purchase an Android phone instead.


RE: No surprise here
By corduroygt on 5/20/2010 9:06:47 AM , Rating: 2
I understand restrictive, but confusing? It's the most intuitive and straightforward OS out there.
Also if you don't believe my examples, 3 cnet authors though the same too:
http://reviews.cnet.com/2722-6452_7-559.html

Round 2, controls and user interface is the section you're looking for.


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