Analyst: Android Propels 87 Percent Jump in Smartphones in Fourth Quarter

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Photo by William Hook - http://flic.kr/p/5j78nv
Photo by William Hook - http://flic.kr/p/5j78nv

More evidence that the mobile world is smarter. Sales of smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android-based handsets, reached 100.9 million units during the fourth quarter – an 87 percent increase over the same period in 2009. Global smartphone shipments reached more than 302 million in all of 2010, a 74.4 percent rise over 2009. According to IDC, Google’s mobile operating system played a large role.

“Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market,” said Ramon Llamos, senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Phone and Trends unit. Android is now the “cornerstone” of many vendors’ smartphone strategies and is threatening cell phone giant Nokia.


“Although Symbian has the backing of market leader Nokia, Android has multiple vendors, including HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung and a growing list of companies deploying Android on their devices,” the analyst announced Monday.

Late last month, another analyst projected Android-based handsets had outsold Symbian, 33 million units to 31 million during the last quarter. Nokia had held the top spot for the previous decade.

Shipments of Apple’s iPhone grew 86 percent, compared to a year ago, according to IDC. Although units shipped in the fourth quarter nearly doubled to 16.2 million from 8.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, the Cupertino, Calif. company’s market share was stable at 16.1 percent. Apple is the No. 3 smartphone vendor with 15.7 percent of the worldwide market – up from 14.5 percent in 2009.

Apple’s growth is particularly strong in the Asia/Pacific and Japan regions. Additionally, the company continues to make strides in the enterprise market as more firms add the brand to the list of approved smartphones and the Cupertino, Calif. company increases development of enterprise-centric applications.

No. 1 Nokia’s marketshare fell to 33.1 percent from 39 percent in 2009, according to the analysis. No. 2 BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion also lost marketshare, dropping to 16.1 percent from 19.9 percent in 2009.

IDC believes while high-end smartphones helped the sector initially grow, in 2011 the focus will be reaching the mass market with mid- to low-range products. “Even high-end devices will become available at lower prices. This will result in greater competition and more selection for users,” IDC announced.

[Bloomberg]