Smartphone Stats are In: Apple and Android are on the Rise

by Matt Klassen on February 24, 2010

The numbers are in from last year’s worldwide smartphone sales, and it’s no surprise that both Apple’s iPhone OS and Google’s Android OS are making significant leaps in popularity. In a recent study conducted by the research group Gartner, both these platforms were the fasted growing in 2009, with the iPhone usurping Microsoft’s Windows Mobile hold on third place overall.

According to the Gartner study, Apple’s share of the worldwide smartphone market nearly doubled last year, with a meteoric jump up to 14.4 percent, an increase in 6.2 points from the year previous. Android, while still significantly smaller than Windows Mobile or Linux devices—both of which saw their market share drop 3.1 and 2.9 percent respectively—saw sales jump 3.4 points for a total market share of 3.9 percent.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. While large statistical leaps look impressive on a graph, those rapidly rising operating systems are still well back of the world leaders in the field, Nokia and RIM (Research in Motion). It’s no surprise that Nokia’s Symbian OS leads the pack, as Nokia phones are the ubiquitous choice of world leaders and Bedouin nomads alike. Everyone, and I mean everyone, that probably shouldn’t have a cellphone but does, has a Nokia; while the clear business choice the world over still remains RIM blackberry devices.

While analysts and prognosticators are using these stats to predict the rapid fall of Nokia from its lofty perch, surprisingly worldwide sales of smartphones running Symbian actually increased in 2009 to 80.9 million units, up from 72.9 million the year previous, but because overall smartphone sales grew faster, from 139.3 million in 2008 to 172.4 million in 2009, Symbian’s market share decreased by a staggering 5.5 percent.

But that’s the thing I hate about statistics. With the total sales of smartphones increasing, Nokia didn’t lose anything to its competitors, as those competitors essentially occupied new market space. But nevertheless, pundits still think the end of Nokia’s world domination is nigh, so pack up survival gear Nokia and prepare yourselves for the end.

While the iPhone OS and the Android OS still trail distantly behind the world leaders, the American domestic smartphone market is substantially different, with RIM leading the way, with Apple in second, the now obsolete Windows Mobile fading quickly into third, and Android still a distant fourth. What is really surprising, is that while Apple and Android sales are not at the top, they dominate the world of mobile web traffic with an 81 percent share.

So, if you put any stock into statistics and graphs, it certainly does look both Apple and Android are on the rise, which isn’t surprising to anyone that follows recent telecom trends. Will they continue to eat into Nokia’s smarthphone dominance? Statistics say yes, but let us not forget the sagely wisdom of Homer Simpson. “Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything…Forfty [sic] percent of all people know that.”

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Nokia Struggles to Keep Pace with Technology —
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