THE LINUX BASED Android mobile operating system is continuing its march to market dominance and has taken a quarter of the mobile phone market.
According to figures prepared by bean counters at Canalys, in the third quarter the worldwide smartphone market grew by 95 per cent over the same quarter a year ago. More than 80.9 million units were shipped and Nokia was the king of smartphone makers.
Nokia has 33 per cent of the worldwide market and Apple has 17 per cent, while RIM has 15 per cent.
In the US, Apple ousted RIM from the top spot, seizing a 26 per cent share. RIM had just launched its latest smartphone, the Blackberry Torch, though it only saw half a quarter's shipments in the US.
But the big winner in the US was Android, which has a 44 per cent share of the smartphone market in the land of the free. This must be extremely worrying for Apple.
Chris Jones, Canalys principal analyst said that, whereas smartphone growth in mature Western markets has been driven by high end products, in many emerging markets where disposable income is more constrained, growth is being driven by good quality products.
To succeed in the poorer markets, vendors need to offer smartphones that provide consumers with the same ability to engage with the locally relevant mobile applications and connected services that consumers want to use, but at a more locally accessible price, he said.
This basically explains why Apple has failed to make much of an impact in those markets and Android has become the greatest driver of growth in the worldwide market. Android growth was up 1,309 per cent from 1.4 million during the same time last year to more than 20 million units this year.
Jones said that with Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony Ericsson all delivering large numbers of Android devices, and with focused efforts from many other vendors, such as LG, Huawei and Acer yielding promising volumes, the platform continues to gather momentum in markets around the world.
The figures are bad news for Microsoft. Devices running Microsoft's mobile OS accounted for just 3 per cent of worldwide smartphone shipments. However with the launch of Windows Phone 7 devices, the outlook for the fourth quarter and beyond is significantly improved, Jones said.
"Windows Phone 7 is streets ahead of earlier iterations and provides a vastly improved user experience that will pleasantly surprise many people when they come to use it. The integration of Microsoft service assets, such as Xbox Live, Bing, Zune and Office, greatly strengthens the proposition and we are confident that the initial array of products will perform well," said Jones. µ