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Android smart phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S II are dominating global sales, shipping over 50 million smart phones a quarter.  (Source: Samsung)

The iPhone is still unmatched in profitability, though, and a solid #1 in global sales by manufacturer.  (Source: Reuters)
Despite legal troubles, the Android juggernaut rolls on

Android's open platform and broad selection of hardware, thanks to liberal licensing, has proved a winning formula for Google Inc. (GOOG) and its hardware partners.  Competitors like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) have been unable to keep up with the platform's wild growth.

According to [press release] market research firm Canalys, for every 2 iPhones sold, approximately five Android phones are now sold (1:2.5).  This is another milestone for Google, who only recently heard the news that it was outselling Apple two to one globally.

The study looked at 56 countries and found Android to be the top platform in 35 of them.  Its global market share is now at just under 50 percent, thanks to a 379 percent year-to-year growth in shipments.  In Q2 2011 it shipped on an estimate 51.9 million smartphones, globally. 

Google's smartphone operating system continues to soar after a quiet 2005 acquisition by Google and 2008 product launch.  Google didn't pick up much momentum until 2009, when its partners began to release bleeding edge handsets like the "Droid" from Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI).  Since then it's been unstoppable.  However, threats loom from lawsuits [1][2][3][4][5] from Apple and licensing demands [1][2] from Microsoft. 

Speaking of Apple, it posted impressive growth of its own, passing Finland's Nokia Oyj.(HEL:NOK1V), with 20.3 million units shipped.  Apple is now the clear number one in terms of global sales by a single manufacturer.

Despite falling behind Android in growth, Canalys had kind words for the highly profitable Apple.  Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones states, "The iPhone has been a phenomenal success story for Apple and a watershed product for the market. It's an impressive success story, given that Apple has only been in the smart phone market for four years. 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."

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (SEO:005930) flagship Galaxy S II smartphone sold well and the company shipped 17.0 million phones in the quarter, bumping Nokia to third place in manufacturer sales.  

However, Mr. Jones had some harsh words for the company, stating, "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."

Fellow Android phone maker HTC Corp. (SEO:066570), however, earned praise for rising out of relative obscurity to gain a 21 percent share in the lucrative North American market.

Microsoft, unsurprisingly, didn't do very well.  It only moved 1.5 million smartphones -- about 1 percent of the market.  Mr. Jones commented, "A fresh crop of products is certainly needed," alluding to the crucial upcoming Mango update and lineup refresh, which airs in September.

Research In Motion Ltd. (TSE:RIM) struggled, gaining 11 percent in global market share, but slipping 12 percent in North American.  Mr. Jones comments that RIM needs to "continue to innovative and recapture lost momentum."  He says that the upcoming BlackBerry OS 7 product family will be a critical turning point -- for better or worse -- for the company.

In perhaps the worst insult of all, 
Hewlett-Packard, Comp.'s (HPQ) webOS, with only a fraction a percent market share, wasn't even mentioned in the report.

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Unfair Comparison?
By mohammadkhajah on 8/2/2011 2:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
Is it fair to compare the sales of an OS against the sales of a phone?

RE: Unfair Comparison?
By IcePickFreak on 8/2/2011 2:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
It is when the maker of the "one phone OS" is the reason it's only on one phone.

RE: Unfair Comparison?
By MADAOO7 on 8/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Unfair Comparison?
By eskimospy on 8/2/2011 6:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Of course it's fair. This situation is the result of one competitor's deliberate business choice.

You can compare both individual phone sales and platform sales. In platform sales Android is turning it into a laugher.

RE: Unfair Comparison?
By MADAOO7 on 8/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Unfair Comparison?
By Fritzr on 8/3/2011 2:35:01 PM , Rating: 3
They are not comparing iPhone handset sales to Android handset sales. For one thing there is no such thing as an "Android handset". They are handsets that run Android. The iPhone series are handsets that run iOS.

For this reason for the comparison to be Apples to Oranges (the old timers will get the joke) you need to compare the total sales of ALL iOS phone handsets to ALL Android phone handsets and ALL iOS tablets to ALL Android tablets.

The thing being compared is Operating System penetration. This is a significant number because developers usually target the OS rather than a single handset or handset series.

Also consumers upgrading will prefer the shiney new handset that runs the familiar OS. Android provides a much greater selection of handsets that do not require learning a new OS and tracking down equivalents to the must have apps on the new OS. With iOS you are restricted to versions of the iPhone/iPad that are more recent than the one you own ... not much choice there.

RE: Unfair Comparison?
By TakinYourPoints on 8/3/2011 2:39:45 AM , Rating: 3
"Fairness" is debatable. Now is it stupid? Look at the website and the author, its pretty safe to say yes there.

RE: Unfair Comparison?
By vbscript2 on 8/3/2011 2:54:38 AM , Rating: 4
Is it fair to compare one platform against another? Yes, it is. Because platform volume, not individual handset volume, will dictate the availablility of newly-developed software. iPhone is VERY quickly losing market share. Soon enough, much new software will only be available for Android. Apple is losing the war with iOS the same way they lost it with Macintosh back in the late 80's/early 90's. Remember that ~2% marketshare Apple had throughout the 90's and early 2000's? That's where they're headed with iOS.

RE: Unfair Comparison?
By mrrt on 8/3/2011 9:24:49 AM , Rating: 3
No the iPhone is not very quickly losing market share. It is Android that is now plateauing while iOS has started to surge.

Android’s global sales growth rate dropped to 3 percent in the March quarter from 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 9.5 percent in the September quarter.

IDC reports that Android's share of the US smartphone market dropped for the first time from 52.4% in Q4 2010 to 49.5% in Q1 2011, a drop of 2.9 points or 5.5% quarter to quarter.

In contrast, the iPhone gained significantly larger share going from 17.2% to 29.5%, an increase of 12.3 points or 42%.

NPD agrees reporting that Android's share of quarterly sales in the US smartphone market shrank 6% quarter-to-quarter in Q1 2011 to 50%. In contrast Apple's iPhone grew 47% to capture 28% of all smartphone sales in the USA.

IDC also reports that Apple had the highest growth of any mobile phone vendor worldwide in Q1 2011 year over year of 115% with second place ZTE growing 45%, Samsung growing 9% and HTC and Moto not even on the chart.

And these figures all include Android tablets because the vast bulk of them also include cellular radios and carrier subscriptions.

In contrast, Apple's figures don't include the iPod touch or iPad (which should of course be included when comparing operating systems and app platforms). iOS and Android as a whole are neck and neck in quarterly unit sales.

In terms of installed base Apple is far ahead of Android with 222 million iOS devices sold versus only 135 million Android as confirmed by ComScore who reported in April that *active* iOS devices outnumber Android devices by 59% in the USA and by 116% in Europe.

Of course even if Android does eventually surpass iOS in installed base, the question is - will it matter? It certainly didn't for Symbian who for years had vastly larger sales and installed base than everyone else.

With iOS continuing to make 11x more income for developers and 14x more app downloads (free and paid), 3.4x larger web browser share and 10x larger music and media store market share and vastly more 3rd party hardware peripherals than Android - on current evidence, having larger unit sales means absolutely nothing.


RE: Unfair Comparison?
By mrrt on 8/3/2011 9:47:49 AM , Rating: 3
No of course it is not fair.

This article makes it seem that Android is the largest mobile OS platform and app platform in the world.

That is not the case of course with over 222 million iPads, iPod touches and iPhones sold worldwide versus 135 million Android devices.

With only 17 million iPhones sold in the first 2 years, the majority of those 222 iOS devices are still in action as demonstrated by ComScore who reported that the number of active iOS devices in the USA is 59% greater than Android and 116% larger in Europe.

Quarterly sales of all OS devices are similar to that of all Android devices with Apple selling 22 million in the 43 days up till July 19th or an average of 512,000 iOS devices sold per day. And this occurred even with a year-old iPhone and delayed release of the iPhone 5.

If you're going to group devices by OS, you need to include all devices that run that OS and the apps on that OS for that comparison to be at all useful, otherwise you have people like many on this page who confuse smartphone unit sales dominance with OS platform and app platform dominance.

The reality is that it is iOS that is much larger than Android in all the metrics that matter:

- 66% of the entire cell phone industry's profits have been captured by Apple (Asymco)
- 28% of the entire cell phone industry's revenue has been captured by Apple (Asymco)
- 71% of all free and paid app downloads are to iOS devices (IHS Screen Digest)
- 82% of developer profits are to iOS developers, 5% to Android developers (ABI Research)
- iOS users each worth up to twice as much to advertisers as Android users (Mobclix)
- Future purchase plans - 64% plan to buy an iPhone, 17% Android (Piper Jaffray)
- Retention rate - 94% of iPhone owners will buy another iPhone vs only 47% of Android users will buy another Android (Piper Jaffray)
- iOS web marketshare 3.7x greater than Android in July, up from 3.3x in March 2011 (Net Applications)


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