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New research by US firm Canalys shows that Google’s Android software platform is gaining ground on Apple iOS worldwide, with Android smartphones taking the number 2 spot globally in the third quarter of 2010 and the top spot in the US market with a 44 percent marketshare.With a 33 per cent share of the market, Nokia is still the leading vendor worldwide, but Apple achieved a 17 per cent share ahead of RIM at 15 percent globally, and retained a 26 per cent market share in the US ousting RIM from the top spot, although RIM only launched its Torch halfway through the quarter.

As well as the positive picture in the US, Canalys’ detailed country level smart phone research has consistently highlighted the importance of, and differences in, ’emerging markets’. For example, in what are now being called the ‘BRIIC’ countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and mainland China), smart phone shipments increased by 112 percent year-on-year, faster than the market overall, and each country individually saw strong growth.

Despite ongoing discussions with the Indian authorities over the monitoring of encrypted communications, RIM has also continued to grow its business in the country and held an 18 percent share of the market in Q3 2010, with volumes up 412 percent.

 

Chris Jones, Canalys Principal Analyst, said: “Where smart phone growth in mature Western markets has been driven by high-end products, in many emerging markets where disposable income is more constrained, growth is being driven by good-quality products that can attract mass-market volumes in the mid-tier of the market. To succeed in these markets, vendors need to offer smart phones that provide consumers with the same ability to engage with the locally relevant mobile applications and connected services that consumers want to use, but at a more locally accessible price.”

Once again this quarter, it was devices running the Android platform that proved the greatest driver of growth in the worldwide market, up 1,309% year-on-year from 1.4 million in Q3 2009 to more than 20.0 million units in Q3 2010, forming a quarter of the market share. “With Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony Ericsson all delivering large numbers of Android devices, and with focused efforts from many other vendors, such as LG, Huawei and Acer, yielding promising volumes, the platform continues to gather momentum in markets around the world,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Pete Cunningham.

According to Canalysis, Android has been well received by the market and in some geographies it is becoming a sought-after consumer brand with handsets poised to surpass computers for browsing the web. “It has rapidly become the platform to watch, and its growing volumes will help to entice developers, ensuring consumers have access to an increasingly rich and vibrant mobile content and application ecosystem. Vendors are now delivering Android devices across a broad range of price points, from high-end products such as the Samsung Galaxy S or HTC Desire, to aggressively priced devices such as the LG GT540 Optimus or the Huawei built Vodafone 845, ensuring that Android devices are available and affordable to consumers on almost any budget.”

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