Android has accounted for 25.5pc of global smartphone sales, making in the second most-used operating system in the world, research shows.
According to Gartner, more than 81 million smartphones were sold in the third quarter of 2010, with Symbian as the most popular OS and Android coming second.
“Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner.
“Any platform that fails to innovate quickly — either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity — will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users.”
The research firm noted that many Android devices have been released at lower prices, along with high-end devices, and that each update of the mobile OS brings “new features and polish to Android and the level of innovation is a major differentiator.”
Apple did well in quarter three, due to the iPhone 4. This was attributed to Apple’s relationships with multiple channel service providers worldwide along with the strong ecosystem around iTunes and the App Store.
In Western Europe, iPhone sales doubled year-on-year, becoming the third-largest vendor behind Nokia and Samsung.
Gartner believes that 2011 will be a test for the impact of media tablets on mobile phone sales. The firm also forecast that media tablets, such as the iPad, will reach 54.8 million units in 2011.
“Apple’s dramatic expansion of iOS with the iPad and the continuing success of the iPod touch are important sales achievements in their own right,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner.
“But more importantly, they contribute to the strength of Apple’s ecosystem and the iPhone in a way that smartphone-only manufacturers cannot compete with.
“While Android is increasingly available on media tablets and media players like the Galaxy Player, it lags far behind iOS’s multi-device presence.
“Apple claims it is activating around 275,000 iOS devices per day on average — that’s a compelling market for any developer. And developers’ applications in turn attract users,” said Milanesi.