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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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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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