Google’s Android smartphone operating system is continuing its market dominance, jumping to more than 50% market share, says the analyst house
Smartphone sales reached 115 million units in the third quarter of 2011, up 42% from this time last year. Smartphone sales account for 26 per cent of all mobile phone sales while Android, which held 25.3% market share this time last year, now has 52.5%.
Worldwide sales of mobile devices totalled 440.5 million units for the third quarter, up 5.6% compared to last year.
Much of Android’s growth in the smartphone sector appears to have been at the expense of Nokia’s Symbian platform. Symbian has lost half its market share, falling from 36.3% to just 16.9% in — and this is the killer – the space of a single year.
Blackberry’s Research in Motion has also flattened, causing its market share to drop from 15.4% to just 11%. Sony Ericsson also fell, from 2.5% to 1.9%.
Nokia has since abandoned Symbian in favour of the new Windows 7 Mobile Platform, which is to be launched with Nokia’s upcoming Lumia 800 smartphone. Sony has purchased Ericsson outright, and will be looking to shake up its offerings similarly.
The Chinese competitors are also rapidly emerging: HTC nearly doubled its sales from 6.5 million handsets to just over 12 million, moving its small market share of 1.6% to 2.7%, as did Huawei who moved from 5.5 million to 10.7 million (1.3% to 2.4%).
Non-smartphone devices continue to be driven by demand in emerging markets such as Russia, China and Brazil for low-cost devices and for dual SIM phones. This market is still dominated by Nokia, which holds 23.9% share – still a fall from 28.2% the year prior.
In terms of hardware, Samsung became the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer worldwide for the first time, beating Nokia in Western Europe and Asia on the back of its Samsung Galaxy range. Its main competitor, Apple, has it tangled up in several markets over patent disputes.
Gartner’s analysts expect more competition in the fourth quarter of 2011, which the firm believes will see the iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS (at a new price point) capture share from Android manufacturers.
Apple shipped 17 million iPhones, an annual increase of 21%, but was down nearly 3 million units from the second quarter of 2011 due to customers holding back on the announcement of the new iPhone (now known to be the 4S).
Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple as these countries become more affluent. They currently represent 16% of Apple’s overall sales and show that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets, especially now that the 3GS and 4 have received price cuts.