a long time coming and should come as no surprise to anyone who has been
tracking Android's meteoric rise -- both in the U.S. and worldwide -- that Google's
mobile OS has finally outpaced Nokia's stalwart Symbian platform as the leading
smartphone OS worldwide.
Engadget, citing figures by Canalys, reports that Android sold 33.3 million
devices in the fourth quarter of 2010. That's a 13-million device spike from
even the previous quarter, which saw 20.3 million Android devices moved. Now
second-place Symbian sold 31 million devices in Q4 2010.
According to the Canalsy press release, the number of Android devices sold was
slightly less than Engadget's reported figure, at 32.9 million -- still
enough to retain the number one spot.
Canalys also pointed out that Nokia still retained its spot as the number one
global smartphone vendor, dominating 28 percent of the market. Android can't
compete in that department thanks to the fractured nature of its platform,
allowing multiple vendors to support the OS -- for this reason, Netgear CEO
Patrick Lo predicts Android will become the de facto standard on
a range of consumer electronic devices. HTC and Samsung combined for almost 45
percent of Android device sales, with LG, Acer, and others rounding out the
2010 also signaled huge year-over-year growth in terms of total worldwide
smartphone sales. "The final quarter took shipments for the year to
fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over
2009," Canalys said.
The important U.S. market continued to dominate regionally, as well, with
double the amount of smartphones sold than China. "Android was by far the
largest smart phone platform in the US market in Q4 2010, with shipments of
12.1 million units – nearly three times those of RIM's BlackBerry
devices," Canalys said.
The biggest loser, perhaps, was Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform. It appeared
too late in the quarter to fully capture the holiday buying window. As a
result, Microsoft's market share dipped from 8 percent in Q4 of 2009 to 5
percent in the same quarter of 2010.