The smartphone world is changing and it’s changing fast. Companies that were big performers for years are now seeing their profits and market share slide precipitously. Among the companies are Microsoft and Palm.
Palm was recently purchased by HP and Microsoft is seeing the market share of its Windows Mobile offerings plummet as phone makers migrate to open platforms like Android. Android devices are burning up the global market and in the U.S., Android has now outpaced the iPhone in market share for Q1 2010.
The global market for smartphones is very similar reports Reuters. Android was the fourth most popular operating system sold globally in Q1 2010 according to Gartner. That puts Android’s global reach ahead of Microsoft’s mobile OS and Android is gaining on the iPhone quickly on the global market.
As the Android OS grows in popularity, more and more developers are working on apps for the OS. Chris Moore from Redpoint Ventures said, “I am quite impressed by the traction the Android ecosystem is getting.” He goes on to say, “I want to say that on the current trajectory, they (Android) will pass the iPhone platform, or at least reach parity by the end of this year or middle of next year.”
The most pressure is definitely being put on Microsoft in the global smartphone market. The company is the only one who charges handset makers a licensing fee for its smartphone OS. More and more companies that traditionally built Windows Mobile devices are looking to Android as a free and more popular alternative.
In addition to looking at the reach of smartphone OS’ globally, Gartner also looked at the most popular device makers around the globe. Nokia still holds the top spot with 35% of the global handset market. Samsung is next with 20.6%, LG has 8.6%, RIM has 3.4%, and Apple takes seventh place on the list with 2.7% of the market. The top smartphone OS in the world is Symbian with 44.3% of the market, Blackberry OS is next with 19.4% of the market, iPhone has 15.4% of the market, with Android at 9.6% of the market. Windows Mobile has 6.8% of the smartphone OS market.
“In the first quarter of 2010, smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This quarter saw RIM, a pure smartphone player, make its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and saw Apple increase its market share by 1.2 percentage points. Android’s momentum continued into the first quarter of 2010, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707 per cent year-on-year.”
Milanesi went on to say, “Growth [for Apple] came partly from new communication service providers in established markets, such as the UK, and stronger sales in new markets such as China and South Korea. The second quarter of 2010 will be a very important one for Apple. We expect that Apple will present its new iPhone in June during its Worldwide Developer Conference, which will be the first to feature the latest release of the iPhone OS that includes welcome improvements for developers and users, such as multitasking.”
Check out our list of the best Android phones.