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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48 Comments

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wow Android is showing the power of just chucking it out their, impressive figure over Apple. Im hoping MS will take a boost in the coming year. I think Apple may loose share this year, so many people i know don't actualy like their iPhone its quite odd.

wow thats incredible growth by android. hopefully windows phone will see more growth soon... hopefully they can get on verizon soon too...

If Microsoft has another mobile device failure, their only decent products will be Windows and the Xbox. They need to make some sweeping changes fast, or they're going to be left in the dust.

Educated Idiot said,
If Microsoft has another mobile device failure, their only decent products will be Windows and the Xbox. They need to make some sweeping changes fast, or they're going to be left in the dust.

I would be very happy to receive 1/100 of the profit generated by MS Office......... each year of course.....

I love droid and the functionality but seriously the apps suck Samsung Galaxy S owner here and always jealous at my mates iphone apps.

Except for the fact that the whole article is misleading. It clearly states in the fine print of the image the numbers for Google include OMS and Tapas. Sure the one supports Android and the other is based on it, however this does not mean they should be counted as part of the Android market share.

Right now Android has 3 things going for it:
1) It's an alternative for people who aren't keen on being led around on a leash by Apple.
2) It's a pretty solid offering - fast, stable, etc. (most of the time)
3) It's been around long enough that it's available through a lot of providers with a lot of different hardware.

Down sides are that long term it's success is mainly the result of the failures of others, not any kind of revolutionary new innovation.

Also a downside is that while my techie friends love it, my Dad has to wrestle with it - it's not intuitive to him and as a result he doesn't explore the full capabilities. It'd be totally off limits for someone like my Mom.

So while I see Android as a key step in the evolution of mobile computing - as key as the iPhone that made capable mobile computers common place - it's not the destination. There's plenty of room for improvement.

Ultimately it's going to be strong competition from a variety of providers - not market dominance by one OS that will give rise to the mobile innovations of the future.

You would think that all those users would attract more developers from iOS... I guess developers like being paid as oppose to being expected to give away their products.

Shadrack said,
You would think that all those users would attract more developers from iOS... I guess developers like being paid as oppose to being expected to give away their products.

Why? iOS is a very succesfull platform as well as Android; it makes sense to develop apps for both of them.

Fritzly said,

Why? iOS is a very succesfull platform as well as Android; it makes sense to develop apps for both of them.

It makes sense to develop for both but it also takes time and money. App stores have not been around that long so you don't see the power house developers that have the resources to develop for all platforms yet on a large scale. A few exist, but these are all basically startup companies. Once the companies mature a bit, we will see the cross platform development teams come around.

"Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010" - 7.2% is nearer 7 than 8 and 3.1% in 2010 is nowhere near 5. I'm guessing typos rather than a basic math problem.

Hackersoft MS MVP said,
"Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010" - 7.2% is nearer 7 than 8 and 3.1% in 2010 is nowhere near 5. I'm guessing typos rather than a basic math problem.

And "in the United States" is nowhere near "Worldwide" in terms of meaning.

sabrex said,

And "in the United States" is nowhere near "Worldwide" in terms of meaning.


Ah, nice catch. Was reading too fast. Read that line then looked at the table and thought those numbers don't match up. My bad.

techbeck said,

What are you talking about?

The Google share represents shipments from multiple manufacturers (MS too), Nokia and Apple (and RIM?) manufactured everything themselfs.

mindelt said,

The Google share represents shipments from multiple manufacturers (MS too), Nokia and Apple (and RIM?) manufactured everything themselfs.

I really hate that argument. I am sure if the iPhone was on multiple carriers, then Apple would have a bigger share. The fact of the matter is, Apple closed themselves off, limited themselves to one carrier for YEARS. This BS talk about Android being on multiple manufacturers is just that , BS.

Manufacturers has nothing to do with it...its the companies that carry the products.

techbeck said,

I really hate that argument. I am sure if the iPhone was on multiple carriers, then Apple would have a bigger share. The fact of the matter is, Apple closed themselves off, limited themselves to one carrier for YEARS. This BS talk about Android being on multiple manufacturers is just that , BS.

Manufacturers has nothing to do with it...its the companies that carry the products.

Except it has nothing to do with carriers. No one is talking about carriers except for you.

As for manufacturers, of course it does. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different Android handsets out there. There are only a handful of iPhone models.

WelshBluebird said,

Except it has nothing to do with carriers. No one is talking about carriers except for you.

As for manufacturers, of course it does. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different Android handsets out there. There are only a handful of iPhone models.

You cannot use an Android or an iPhone without a carrier, so yea...it matters and has everything to do with it. No carriers to support the devices, no one will be buying them.

If Apple opened up the iPhone to more carriers at the start, or sooner, then they will still be on top and hard to beat.

techbeck said,

You cannot use an Android or an iPhone without a carrier, so yea...it matters and has everything to do with it. No carriers to support the devices, no one will be buying them.

If Apple opened up the iPhone to more carriers at the start, or sooner, then they will still be on top and hard to beat.

The World does not ends at the border of the US, actually it is way bigger. The stronghold, just not to use a different, more accurate term, carriers have in the US market does not represents the situation in other Countries: you can buy and use SIM free phones, including iPhone and Android in the rest of the World, we are the ones left behind....
And the chart is about Worldwide sales.

techbeck said,

I really hate that argument. I am sure if the iPhone was on multiple carriers, then Apple would have a bigger share. The fact of the matter is, Apple closed themselves off, limited themselves to one carrier for YEARS. This BS talk about Android being on multiple manufacturers is just that , BS.

Manufacturers has nothing to do with it...its the companies that carry the products.


bs ? comparing the sales of one manufacture against multiple manufactures is BS ? rofl

techbeck said,

You cannot use an Android or an iPhone without a carrier, so yea...it matters and has everything to do with it. No carriers to support the devices, no one will be buying them.

If Apple opened up the iPhone to more carriers at the start, or sooner, then they will still be on top and hard to beat.

Don't matter, if they are with one carrier or multiple carrier. They were selling all the phones they were manufacturing. Only if half of your phones are sitting at the plant or at the retailers then you need to worry about adding more carriers. Adding more carriers without assessing whether you will be able to meet the demand of present carrier and new carrier is only going get you in problem. But a good problem though.

Are you contraddicting yourself?
Before:
Quote
You cannot use an Android or an iPhone without a carrier, so yea...it matters and has everything to do with it. No carriers to support the devices, no one will be buying them.
Unquote

Now:
Quote
Don't matter, if they are with one carrier or multiple carrier.
Unquote

?????

What happens when you take a product, open, make it available to most providers...MS did it back i the day with Windows...Google's turn.

techbeck said,
What happens when you take a product, open, make it available to most providers...MS did it back i the day with Windows...Google's turn.

Only thing is they didn't open source it.

recursive said,

Only thing is they didn't open source it.

Since when is open = open source? The Windows platform is definately open in a similar way like android, compared to Apple. Open source? No, but the average consumers don't really care about that.

floopy said,

Since when is open = open source? The Windows platform is definately open in a similar way like android, compared to Apple. Open source? No, but the average consumers don't really care about that.

Um, yeah the average consumer doesn't but the average manufacturer does.

Not only that, Android is free to use. Windows is not...manufacturers have to pay a license fee.

floopy said,

Since when is open = open source? The Windows platform is definately open in a similar way like android, compared to Apple. Open source? No, but the average consumers don't really care about that.

Do not confuse the flexibility of Windows 7 with WP7; the latter is as closed as Apple iPhone one.

Bhav said,

Not only that, Android is free to use. Windows is not...manufacturers have to pay a license fee.
Android is only free to use if you don't want any google apps (including the marketplace). If you do, you pay Google for it.

/- Razorfold said,
Android is only free to use if you don't want any google apps (including the marketplace). If you do, you pay Google for it.

True but the OS is free. In an attempt to please developers MS removed even Solitaire from the WP OS! First OS in MS history without Solitaire since Windows 3.0........

1 - How the hell is Nokia still up there? I don't think I've seen anyone with a Nokia smartphone in a good couple of years.

2 - Nothing suprising really. If anything, it shows how well Apple are doing considering how few models they actually have.

WelshBluebird said,
1 - How the hell is Nokia still up there? I don't think I've seen anyone with a Nokia smartphone in a good couple of years.

Worldwide. You need to learn to see beyond your own pond matey.

WelshBluebird said,
1 - How the hell is Nokia still up there? I don't think I've seen anyone with a Nokia smartphone in a good couple of years.

2 - Nothing suprising really. If anything, it shows how well Apple are doing considering how few models they actually have.


Well nokia is global compared to others. I rarely see an iPhone or an android phone around here because iPhone isn't available in our country and android phones are damn expensive here. The affordable smartphones are made by nokia. And it's all around in our country.

[quote=WelshBluebird said,]1 - How the hell is Nokia still up there? I don't think I've seen anyone with a Nokia smartphone in a good couple of years.

Uneducated guess - I've seen the Nokia phones be the Free with service plan phones alot recently.

I think it's mostly to do with the feature phone market. Nokia have and are dominating the feature phone market. Until a competitor can make a cheap, rugged and possible non-touchscreen (I'm hazarding a guess here that a significant portion of this market needs/prefers actual buttons e.g. builders, farmers etc) then Nokia may well hold a large percentage of this market for years to come.

Regardless however, this shows the booming popularity of Android, something which I've been waiting for. Mainly due to the fact that very few people have even heard of Android in the UK!

Hollow.Droid said,
I think it's mostly to do with the feature phone market. Nokia have and are dominating the feature phone market. Until a competitor can make a cheap, rugged and possible non-touchscreen (I'm hazarding a guess here that a significant portion of this market needs/prefers actual buttons e.g. builders, farmers etc) then Nokia may well hold a large percentage of this market for years to come.

Regardless however, this shows the booming popularity of Android, something which I've been waiting for. Mainly due to the fact that very few people have even heard of Android in the UK!


The article says these are smartphone statistics. My guess is that globally Nokia is still dominating, but in the major markets, US, EU, etc it's no longer doing very well.

Quick Shot said,
Ouch -20% for MS

windows phone 7 launched in Nov so these numbers are for 50 days and not 90 days like others... so i think Microsoft did a bit well too.