Gartner: Step Aside iPhone, Android Is On Fire!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on August 13, 2010

A recent report from Gartner indicates Google’s Android was the top operating system in smartphone sales in the U.S. in the second quarter. When it comes to worldwide sales as well, Android is now larger than the iPhone. Android’s worldwide market share has shot up by 850 percent from 1.8% in 2009 to 17.2% this year and it’s only bound to get better in the next couple of years.

The report confirms that Android’s phenomenal growth is at the expense of declining market share of Microsoft and Symbian. It also indicates that the overall smartphone industry witnessed an explosive 2nd quarter with 325.6 million units being sold, a 13.8 percent increase from the same period in 2009.

Gartner forecasts Android will claim the #2 slot in the next couple of years, well ahead of iPhone, Windows Mobile and Blackberry, and second only to Symbian. Too optimistic or another testimony of Android’s stunning success story? Time will tell.

With Symbian’s future uncertain and RIM getting into all sorts of legal tangles, I believe that Android looks well positioned to take on the top slot. Apple’s share grew modestly in Q2, from a 13% market share to 14.2% but it did not include the iPhone 4 sales. The Gartner report acknowledges

“Apple’s sales would have been higher, if it had not had to face tight inventory management in preparation for the arrival of the iPhone 4 at the end of the second quarter of 2010. We expect that a wider global rollout of iPhone 4 will sustain Apple’s sales momentum throughout the second half of 2010.”

Google took a huge gamble when it decided to make Android open source and stay away from any manufacturer exclusivity agreements and that too at a time, when iPhone and Blackberry were ruling the charts. Whatever Google’s intentions were behind that move, it has paid off really well and continues to be Android’s trump card when compared with rival mobile platforms. It’s fair to say that the ‘any carrier, any manufacturer’ strategy has been a blessing in disguise for Android.

What’s more, Android’s success has led to a revival of fortune for struggling handset makers adopting Google’s mobile OS such as Motorola and Sony Ericsson. HTC is amongst the phone makers who’ve cashed in big time on Android’s popularity and is a new entrant amongst the list of the world’s top 10 phone makers in the second quarter. The Droid Incredible Android phone on Verizon Wireless proved to be a blockbuster device and continues to show strong sales.

While Google’s partners enjoyed the Android joyride in the last quarter, it has been a sorry tale for Nokia which lost nearly 2.6% of its market share. Even though Symbian is still the most popular mobile platform worldwide, with 25.3 million smartphones sold, it looks all set for a free fall in the next couple of years.

Will the launch of iPhone 4 manage to stem Android’s popularity? Or is Google all set to sweep the smartphone market with its killer operating system? Your thoughts are welcome.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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