Android phone shipments up 886pc year-on-year

3 Aug 2010

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While mobile giant Nokia still holds the leadership position for the world with a 38pc market share, other manufacturers – especially those shipping Google Android-based smartphones – are beginning to pose a significant threat.

According to a Q2 analyst report from Canalys, Nokia retained a substantial lead in the worldwide smartphone market in Q2 2010, achieving a 38pc market share. The vendor shipped a record 23.8 million smartphones during the quarter, representing growth of 41pc on a year ago, as it focused on delivering affordable smartphone offerings to the market, such as its popular 5230 touch-screen handset, based on the Symbian operating system (OS).

The smartphone market grew by 64pc annually worldwide in Q2 2010. At the same time, shipments of RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones grew by 41pc. Helped by the continued strong performances of devices such as the Curve 8520, it was once again the second placed vendor with an 18pc market share, while also retaining its leadership position in North and Latin America.

Apple’s 13pc global market share

Despite a period of turbulent PR, initial shipments of the iPhone 4 were predictably strong and contributed to Apple’s 61pc growth and worldwide market share of 13pc for the quarter. But analysis of Canalys’ detailed, globally consistent data shows it is the collective growth of Android device shipments across a range of handset vendors’ portfolios that is most remarkable.

With key products from HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG, among others, shipments of smartphones running the Google-backed Android operating system grew an impressive 886pc in Q2 2010.

“The latest release of our detailed and complete country-level smartphone shipment data for Q2 2010 clearly reveals the impressive momentum Android is gaining in markets around the world,” said Canalys VP and principal analyst Chris Jones, commenting on the publication.

“In the United States, for example, we have seen the largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, heavily promoting high-profile Android devices, such as the Droid by Motorola and the Droid Incredible by HTC. These products have been well received by the market, with consumers eager to download and engage with mobile applications and services, such as internet browsing, social networking, games and navigation.”

The United States smartphone market grew 41pc year on year. It is the largest smartphone market in the world by a significant margin, with 14.7 million units accounting for 23pc of global shipments in Q2 2010. Android devices collectively represented a 34pc share of the US market in the quarter, and with growth of 851pc, Android became the largest smartphone platform in the country.

“The story in the Asia Pacific region is similarly optimistic around Android,’ noted senior analyst, Ty Lau. "Android devices are gaining good traction in markets such as mainland China and South Korea, with growing numbers of consumers wanting more sophisticated smartphones.”

The march of the Androids

China was the world’s second-largest smartphone market in Q2 2010 for the sixth consecutive quarter, with shipments of 6.9 million units representing 11pc of the worldwide total. Android devices combined reached almost 475,000 units in Q2 2010 from no presence in the country a year ago.

It is also important to note that China Mobile is committed to developing its own platform, OMS, based on Android, and an additional 174,000 smartphones shipped in the quarter running OMS.

“Given Google’s substantial involvement in the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), that its relationship with the Chinese authorities appears to have improved recently, and that its operating licence has been renewed, will help reduce concerns that tensions could have an impact on the potential for the OHA-based Android and OMS platforms in the country, particularly among vendors that have committed resources to producing Android devices for the Chinese market,” added Lau.

“Nokia’s Symbian devices continue to dominate the market, but other vendors are clearly making good headway with Android in China. Motorola and Samsung, as well as local vendors, such as Dopod, Lenovo and Huawei, are achieving promising volumes on the platform, and Android devices held a 7pc share in China this quarter.”

Despite a close relationship with its strategic partner Dopod, HTC, the world’s leading Android device vendor, announced last week that it is entering the Chinese market with its own-branded smartphones. With a population of 1.3 billion, China represents a market with enormous growth potential and Canalys expects Android to be among the platforms that will drive growth in the coming quarters and years.

Growth in the worldwide smartphone market reflects the increasing importance of smartphones in device vendors’ and operators’ handset portfolios, as growing numbers of consumers appear eager to engage with mobile applications and connected services.

“Expect to see smartphones accounting for a growing proportion of the wider mobile phone market as they become increasingly affordable to more customers,’ said Canalys senior analyst Pete Cunningham.

“By 2013, smartphones will grow to represent over 27pc of shipments worldwide, with the proportion in some developed markets in Western Europe surpassing 60pc and 48pc in North America,” Cunningham said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com