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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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By Tony Swash on 8/3/2011 11:00:59 AM , Rating: -1
Oh, I don't know. My friend brought over his iMac, and I tried running a program on it. All it did was bounce and that was it. No info as to what that means. No info as to why (after googling that means) it crashed or didn't run. And the simple fact that a program made to run on that version of OSX didn't run is quite contrary to "It just works." The wifi wouldn't work properly, even though wpa2's been out forever and winxp had support for it since apr of 2005, the same time 10.4 came out. Then we updated to 10.6. Then itunes corrupted. Then the beachball came up and required a hard restart. The mouse on it by default is annoyingly slow. No way to change the background until iOS4. No way to change sounds until iOS 5, unlike every other phone who has these features for years, considered to be standard. Need I go on as to how much they suck, no.

I guess that’s why Apple's products top so many consumer satisfaction surveys - because they are so bad - it all makes so much sense ;)

By Helbore on 8/3/2011 1:12:34 PM , Rating: 3
You'd be surprised. I actually watched a friend of mine moaning about some problem on his Mac, saying how this problem keeps happening and its really annoying. Then literally ten minutes later he was going on about how the thing he loves most about the Mac is that it "just works."

I've encountered it a few times now, with people complaining of a problem with an Apple product not working, then promptly forgetting about it and claiming how it is a wonder device that never goes wrong.

It actually boggles my mind as to how people seem to compartmentalise with Apple products. I don't see it with any other brand - but with Apple so many seem to conveniently "forget" about problems they've previously had. I honestly don't understand it.

Having said that, I've also seen a sharp rise in Apple products among my clients over the last year or two. Funnily enough, I am supporting problems with them to a similar proportional level of Windows devices. More interestingly is the number of people who were in love with their Apple products for the first few months and have slowly got to the point where they regret buying them. This is particularly true for Macs and iPads and less so for iPhones, which tend to remain popular.

I'd definitely say that in consumer circles, Apple seems to do no wrong (even when it actually does and people jsut forget about it), but in business circles, they seem to be deeply disliked after the "gee whizz" factor has worn off.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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