Android becomes the world's leading smartphone platform

Canalys, the independent technology focused analyst house, revealed today that Google's Android platform had shipped a whopping 33.3 million units in Q4 of 2010, overtaking Nokia's Symbian platform as the most popular smartphone platform, and setting it up for the hottest property for 2011.

Last December, we reported that Fortune's Google roundsman Seth Weintraub certainly made his intentions clear, proclaiming that 2011 will be the year ''Android explodes''.

‘2010 has been a fantastic year for the smart phone market. After a difficult 2009, the speed with which the market has recovered has required real commitment and innovation from vendors and they have risen to the challenge,’ said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. ‘But vendors cannot afford to be complacent. 2011 is set to be a highly competitive year with vendors looking to use new technology, such as dual-core processors, NFC and 3D displays, to differentiate their products and maintain value.’

Although Nokia retained its position as the leading global smartphone vendor, with a share of 28%, Windows Phone 7 devices appeared too late in the quarter to take full advantage of holiday season purchasing. As a result, Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010.

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