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2/1/2011
00:07 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Android Sits Atop The Smartphone Mountain

In the 4th quarter of 2009, Google was in fourth place with its Android platform. 2010 was a banner year for the fledgling platform and by the time the year was up, it had catapulted to the top spot.

In the 4th quarter of 2009, Google was in fourth place with its Android platform. 2010 was a banner year for the fledgling platform and by the time the year was up, it had catapulted to the top spot.Canalys released their fourth quarter data for 2010. They showed the shipments for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile/Phone and Symbian. everything, such as Bada and WebOS were lumped into the "other" category.

Every listed mobile platform grew in year over year shipments except for Microsoft's platform. Its unit sales dropped from 3.9 million to 3.1 million. Windows Mobile has been steadily losing share for the last few years so this is not unexpected. Windows Phone was released to Europe in early October and in the US on AT&T's and T-Mobile's network in early November. Not only does this exclude all CDMA carriers, a lot of languages are still not supported. It will be Q2 or Q3 of this year before Windows Phone has full distribution.

While the other platforms grew in units sold though, all of them lost share to Android. Nokia, the top platform a year ago fell from 44.4% to 30.6%, where it is now in second place. Blackberry, the previous holder of the second slot fell to the fourth slot. While Apple's share dropped from 16.3% to 16.0%, it was enough to move into third place.

Google though had explosive growth. It held a meager 4.7% in 2009 and shipped 4.7 million licenses. In the fourth quarter of 2010 it moved 33.3 million licenses, a 615% increase. It holds nearly a third of the market and sits comfortably in first place. I say comfortably because second place Nokia is losing momentum almost as fast as Google is gaining it. Third place Apple is pretty much treading water and has only half the share Google does so presents no threat to Google's crown.

What do you think Q4 of 2011 will look like? I predict Google will continue to grow, though not 600%. Apple will move into the second slot due to both a boost by Verizon and Nokia's continued slide. Nokia will hold third place and Blackberry fourth. Windows Phone will show growth this year but they would have to grow 400% to catch RIM, and I just don't see that happening. I don't think RIM's share will grow, but neither do I think it will plummet either.

I will be curious to see if HP can turn WebOS around and have it break out of "Other."

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