Android Sees Huge Market Growth in Second Quarter

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New reports from market analysis firms Gartner and IDC confirm what most industry watchers already knew: the second quarter of 2010 was a boom time for smartphone sales, with both firms agreeing worldwide smartphone sales increased 50 percent compared to the second quarter of 2009. The firms also agree that Google’s Android platform also benefited significantly from that growth, with Gartner saying Android has overtaken Apple’s iPhone to become the third most-popular mobile operating system on the planet—and the top-selling mobile operating system in the United States, beating out RIM’s BlackBerry line. But the king of the hill? Still Finland’s Nokia, with either 38.1 percent (IDC) or 34.2 percent (Gartner) of the worldwide mobile phone market.

Gartner attributes Android’s success to a variety of manufacturers bring devices to market at a number of different price points. “A non-exclusive strategy that produces products selling across many communication service providers and he backing of so many device manufacturers, which are bringing more attractive devices to market at several different price points, were among the factors that yielded its growth this quarter,” said Gartner research VP Carolina Milanesi, in a statement.

According to IDC, Nokia remained the top smartphone vendor worldwide, but notes that Nokia’s year-on-year progress in the smartphone sector didn’t match the overall growth of the market, meaning Nokia is effectively losing ground. IDC found Research in Motion was the number two smartphone vendor, shipping over 11 million units in a quarter for the first time in the company’s history. Rounding out the top five: Apple, HTC, and Samsung. HTC managed to double its shipment volumes compared to a year ago, and Samsung knocked Motorola out of the top five. HTC and Samsung—both heavily investing in Android—also posted the highest year-on-year growth rates, with HTC coming in as the top supplier of Android devices.

Gartner ranks phone makers differently, lumping all mobile phone manufacturers together rather than singling out smartphones from the pack. Even still, HTC posted impressive numbers, for the first time entering the top ten phone makers worldwide with a number eight ranking.

Gartner also found that the success of tablet devices—particularly the Apple iPad—has not dampened smartphone sales. “We believe that most tablet users still feel the need for a truly pocketable, yet highly capable, device for those situations when it’s inconvenient to carry a device with a larger form factor,” said Milanesi.

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