updated 08:25 am EDT, Wed May 19, 2010
Gartner sees Android passing iPhone worldwide soon
Android phone sales have overtaken the iPhone in the North American market for the first time, Gartner found today. Thanks to a 906 percent surge in shipments worldwide to 5.21 million phones, Google's mobile OS outpaced Apple's in North America and the US in particular. The analysts didn't readily provide numbers, but it suggests that the majority of Android phones were sold in the US as Apple sold 2.7 million US iPhones.
Worldwide, Apple still comfortably outsold the combined Android platform, jumping from 10.5 percent of the market a year ago to 15.4 percent. Gartner however expected Android to overtake the iPhone before long as its worldwide sales grew six times larger over the same space of time, from 1.6 percent to 9.6 percent. Research VP Carolina Milanesi explained the rapidly closing gap as an inevitable result of sheer scale, as Apple's approach makes it harder to grow.
"You have one vendor with one model and eight to nine vendors with many models -- of course you get bigger volumes," she said.
Most Android sales came from HTC and Motorola, which shipped 2.6 million and 2.3 million total smartphones each. Samsung has also been a significant contributor.
Gartner's overall statistics vary from those of IDC, which gave Apple a larger 16.1 percent share and sixth place in all phone sales; the former put Apple at seventh place behind Motorola.
The new data makes it more difficult for Apple to reject possible market pressures. The iPhone maker dismissed an NPD study as being unrepresentative but has yet to answer to market share results.
How Android and iPhone will perform by the end of the spring isn't clear. Android is expected to get a lift from the Droid Incredible, Evo 4G and other flagship phones in the near future, but the launch of the next iPhone expected in June should prove a catalyst to Apple's already higher sales.