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Android Sales Outpace iOS In First Quarter

Android Sales Outpace iOS In First Quarter

May 19, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

Over one third of smartphones sold worldwide during the first three months of 2011 had Google's Android OS installed, according to a report, more than double the amount of devices with Apple's iOS.

According to research published Wednesday by technology advisory group Gartner, around 36.3 million smartphones with Android embedded were sold during the quarter, a nearly 600 percent increase over the 5.2 million sold in the same period in 2010. Its market share for the quarter was reported at 36 percent, which tops the list, up from 9.6 percent a year ago.

By contrast, 16.9 million iOS-embedded smartphones were sold during the period. While this was over double the 8.4 million sold year-on-year, its market share went up only slightly by comparison, from 15.3 percent to 16.8.

Of particular note here is the drop in market share Symbian devices, which will continue as Nokia -- the smartphone manufacturer with the largest market share, reported at 25 percent for the quarter -- starts phasing them out in favor of its transition to Windows Phone 7, as announced earlier this year. The partnership "will precipitate a competitors rush to capture Symbian's market share in the midtier," said Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza in the report.

Also notable is the fact that of the 3,658,700 Microsoft-embedded devices sold, only 1.6 million of those used the new Windows Phone OS, as "devices launched at the end of 2010 failed to grow in consumer preference and CSPs continued to focus on Android," according to Gartner. "In the long term, Nokia's support will accelerate Windows Phone's momentum."

Worldwide OS sales during the first quarter were as follows, according to Gartner:

CompanyQ1 2011 UnitsMarket ShareQ1 2010 UnitsMarket Share
RIM (BlackBerry)13,004,00012.9%10,752,50019.7%
Other OS3,357,2003.3%2,402,9004.4%

According to Gartner, this research supports the shift toward an "ecosystem focus" -- in other words, the ability to carry applications over from one devices to the next, using the same operating system.

"Every time a user downloads a native app to their smartphone or puts their data into a platform's cloud service, they are committing to a particular ecosystem and reducing the chances of switching to a new platform," said Cozza. "As well as putting their devices in the context of a broader ecosystem, manufacturers must start to see their smartphones as part of a computing continuum."

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