updated 04:30 pm EST, Fri February 3, 2012
Canalys Q4 and year-end 2011 shows change of guard
A Canalys wrap-up of 2011 smartphone share painted an overall picture that kept Apple and Google in front, but also provided clearer pictures of Windows Phone. Android was just short of an absolute majority at 48.8 percent, while the iPhone held 19.1 percent. Nokia's Symbian and RIM's BlackBerry still held on to the double digits at 16.4 percent and 10.5 percent each.
The iPhone 4S effect was visible in the last quarter of the year: Android had crossed the halfway mark to 51.6 percent, but iOS was up to a 23.4 percent stake. Symbian and BlackBerry were entering critical territory at 11.6 percent and 8.3 percent each.
Microsoft's combined share was seeing some of the steepest declines and was seeing its hope only in the end of the year. Microsoft had given up almost four fifths of its share in the past year and sat at 1.4 percent, well behind even Samsung's self-developed Bada platform.
The company's share was up to 1.6 percent in the fall, Canalys revealed. With over one million of the 2.5 million Windows Phones shipped in the period being either a Lumia 800 or 710, a full 40 percent of the platform belonged to Nokia. The major shift suggests either that Windows Phone demand would have shrunken again or that Nokia might have been cannibalizing sales that would have gone to HTC or Samsung instead.
The data also provided an estimate for MeeGo phone shipments, which Nokia itself wouldn't reveal; it estimated that about 600,000 of the only phone available, the N9, traded hands. Nokia had promoted the N9, but it's treating the platform as a long-term experiment rather than a distinct alternative.
As a milestone, Canalyst added that smartphones as a whole had finally overtaken PCs in year-long shipments at 487.7 million to 414.6 million. This included mobile OS tablets like the iPad and would have shown an even wider gap otherwise. The new figure cast doubts on Microsoft's claims that Windows would be relevant forever, since it's now the case that the majority of computing devices shipped in 2011 used a non-Microsoft OS.