updated 08:20 am EDT, Thu August 12, 2010
Analysts say Android passing iOS, near BlackBerry
Android is now larger than the iPhone on the world stage, analysts at Gartner said today. Google's phone platform jumped to 10.6 million phones sold, or enough to overtake the iPhone and take 17.2 percent of the market. The researchers believe Apple sold more iPhones than it shipped, at 8.47 million, but the higher number was still enough to put it at fourth place with 14.2 percent.
The biggest losers were those pushing established mobile operating systems; Symbian shipments didn't increase enough to prevent a steep collapse from 51 percent a year ago to 41.2 peercent today, while RIM's BlackBerry growth also wasn't enough to stop a slight slide to 18.2 percent, or just within striking distance of Android. Microsoft's deliberate decision to reboot its mobile strategy has seen Windows Mobile sink from 9.3 percent to just five percent, while the share of pure Linux phones has been cut in half to 2.4 percent.
Among individual cellphone makers of all kinds, Apple is keeping its lead over HTC secure and is now large enough at 2.7 percent to be within a tenth of a point of fading Motorola. It and Sony Ericsson faced the steepest relative drops as both of them are transitioning to smartphones, but Nokia and LG also lost share as their weaknesses in smartphones cost them share across the board.
Gartner expected a significant change in the summer, as launches were likely to shift the landscape in dramatic form. Apple would likely have had higher share if not for supply limits on the iPhone 4 launch and is due to grow. Such optimism wasn't reserved for RIM: the BlackBerry Torch is more for workers and will mostly just keep customers from abandoning an aging platform.
Apple is also likely to overtake Motorola and Sony Ericsson, as their transitions to smartphones are still underway and may see them continue to shed sales of high volume but unprofitable low-end phones. In the longer term, a Verizon iPhone could mute Android's push as some Verizon subscribers may opt out of the Droid line for an iPhone instead.
The results don't reflect the total footprint of each mobile OS, as some are used beyond phones; Apple's total iOS share is much higher as it includes the 3.27 million iPads sold in the same period as well as the iPod touch.