November 16th, 2011

Android now has more than 50% share of all smartphones

More than 50% of all smartphones bought by consumers in Q3 use the Android OS, according to figures out this week from Gartner. The figures also suggest that every other smartphone platform has seen a decline in market share over the past year.

Android has leapt from a 25.3% market share last year to its current share of 52%, outstripping the overall market growth for smartphones, which is up by 42% with total sales of 115 million units.

Whilst Apple’s iOS grew in actual unit terms by four million devices, Apple actually lost market share to Android. It accounted for 15% of handset sales compared to 16.6% in Q3 2010. RIM saw a similar decline but on a smaller scale. Rim’s share declined by about 4%, with unit sales growth of 200,000 devices.

Microsoft, Symbian and “others” (including webOS) all declined both in unit sales and market share. Gartner reports that only 1.7 million Windows Phone devices were sold in the last quarter, compared to 2.2 million in the same quarter a year ago. Nokia has just started to sell its first Windows Phone-based smartphones and all eyes will be watching to see if this and other new Windows Phone-based entrants will be able to reverse their fortunes.

Nokia, had been the market share leader for many quarters is now in second position with a 17% share for Symbian. This represents a dramatic decline of nearly 20% from a year ago and speaks volumes of Nokia’s decision to discontinue its Symbian-first strategy for new smartphones.

In the overall mobile market, which includes smartphones, Nokia has maintained its lead with 23.9% of all sales, although the gap between Nokia and Samsung, in second place, has narrowed. Gartner says that the overall mobile market grew by only 5.6% – with 440 million mobile units sold in Q3 – compared to the 42% growth in smartphone sales, reinforcing the need for mobile device manufacturers to focus on smartphones longer term.

Looking ahead, the evidence suggests that the focus of mobile device manufacturers is shifting to emerging markets and ‘later adopters’ in more mature markets. Apple has been concentrating on carrier agreements and opening Apple Stores in the Far East, as well as continuing to offer the iPhone 3Gs at a lower price point, after launching the new iPhone 4S in October. Gartner also reported that the price of smartphones is now dipping below $200 in the US.

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