The Volume Game: Android On Almost Half of Worldwide Smartphones!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on August 2, 2011

It’s hard to believe that the world hadn’t seen an Android phone till 2008. Since then, Google’s mobile operating system has grown from strength to strength and it now accounts for almost 50% percent market share of worldwide smartphone shipments. Apple may have overtaken Nokia as the world’s largest smartphone maker, but it’s no match for Android in the volume game.

In fact, Android is widely regarded as one of the most visible open source success stories of recent times. It hasn’t been a joyride through and nobody knows that better than Google Inc. Any more goof-ups on the security front would have turned Android into the “next catastrophic malware disaster“. Time and again, critics have questioned the openness and fragmentation aspects of Android.

Despite these minor hiccups, people all over the world have fallen in love with Google’s mobile platform. In fact, Android was the best-selling smart-phone system in 35 of the 56 countries tracked by Canalys.

Canalys reports that Android OEMs shipped nearly 52 million smartphones in Q2, a phenomenal year-on-year growth rate of 379-percent. Android’s growth was bolstered by strong sales from a number of vendors, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others. The Android wave has completely eclipsed competitors in several countries such as South Korea, where Android holds an 85% platform share, and Taiwan, where it has 71%.

Canalys reports that Apple, which shipped 20.3 million iPhones, stood a distant second with a market share of 19 percent. Samsung also overtook Nokia as the ailing Finnish giant was relegated out of a podium finish. Canalys reports that Nokia though, continues to do well in emerging markets, including Brazil, Russia, India, and China, but it’s being hammered by the iPhones and the Androids in Western Europe and America.

On the other hand, Apple continues to struggle in emerging markets due to the cost barrier. Carriers in third world countries do not offer subsidized handsets so a $200 Android device seems a more viable proposition as compared to a $600 iPhone. Several rumors suggest that Apple will soon introduce a lower-cost version of the iPhone 4 targeted at emerging markets. Come September and we’ll know whether the low-cost iPhone is a reality or all media hype.

As expected, RIM, fared miserably in North America – market share fell to 12 percent, down from 33 percent from a year ago. Though RIM remained the top vendor in Latin America with a 28-percent share, I reckon the tide has already turned for the worse.

Though there’s no denial that Android is a runaway success story, however it is getting increasingly plagued by several factors. Oracle sued Google over Android, while Android manufacturers have also been sued by both Apple and Microsoft. It would be interesting to see how Google tackles these legal issues in order to sustain Android’s explosive growth.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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