Everybody wants a new phone these days. Worldwide mobile phone sales for the third quarter of 2010 were up by more than 100 million units from last year, reports Gartner. Sales for the quarter were 417 million units, a gain from 309 million one year ago.
Smartphone sales grew 96 percent from last year and accounted for 19.3 percent of sales, or 81 million units. Of the six major operating systems, Android showed the most impressive growth. Google’s OS rose from a paltry 3.5 percent market share last year to 25.5 percent in 2010, making it the second most popular OS. Symbian remains dominant with 36.6 percent of the market, but has lost 8 percent since ’09. iOS came in third with 16.7 percent, down 0.4 percent from last year. RIM (BlackBerry) is down six percent, landin at 14.8 percent. Windows Mobile dropped five percent, from 7.9 percent to 2.8 percent of the smartphone market. PC World correctly points out, however, that market share isn’t everything. While Apple lost 0.4 percent, it sold twice as many phones.
“Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Any platform that fails to innovate quickly — either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity — will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users.”
Gartner estimates that Android devices accounted for 75 – 80 percent of all Verizon Wireless smartphone sales in the last three months. For all of 2010, it expects phone sales to grow 30 percent from 2009. The company forecasts that tablets like the iPad and Galaxy S Tab should reach 54.8 million units in 2011.
Whether you’re a fan of Google or not, its explosive growth is impressive. Last year, Gartner estimated that it would take Google until 2012 to attain market dominance. At its current pace, it may reach this goal by the first quarter of 2011. Android celebrated its third birthday a few days ago.