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Android Dominates Smartphone Market, Says Gartner

Third-quarter report shows Android holds 52.5% of the global smartphone OS market, more than all other platforms combined.

Android took over as the number one smartphone platform earlier this year. That trend continues, as third-quarter data shows the platform now holds more share than all other smartphone operating systems combined--and more than double its Q3 2010 share. Over the same time period almost every other platform declined.

According to Gartner, Android grew from 25.3% share in the third quarter last year to 52.5% share this year.

The biggest piece of that gain came from Symbian, which dropped from 36.3% to 16.9%. That isn't unexpected, given Nokia has left the platform for dead. The first Windows Phone-powered Nokia devices are just rolling out across Europe and other countries. We'll have to wait until the first quarter of 2012 is over to see how the Nokia/Microsoft partnership is working out over a full quarter, though we should have some indication in a few weeks, as reports of holiday sales begin to come in. Despite the drop, Nokia is still the best-selling handset maker in the world and owns just under 24% of the market, well ahead of second-place Samsung's 17.8% share.

Speaking of Windows Phone, the share it gave up wasn't material to Android, but it was a gigantic drop for Microsoft's new platform. It had 2.7% share last year and just 1.5% share this year, a 44% decline. Some of this could be attributable to no new Mango phones until the fourth quarter, even though Mango itself was released in early September. Microsoft has put a lot of faith in Nokia to turn the platform around. Keep in mind it is Garner that has predicted that Windows Phone will be the second largest platform by 2015. It won't get there by dropping 40% a year.

Apple's iOS held relatively steady, dropping from 16.6% to 15%. Given that the much-anticipated iPhone 4S didn't release until October, it was expected that the platform dip a bit, as people held off purchases until the new phone became available. I think it is a safe bet to say that the iPhone will see growth in the fourth quarter over last year.

The only other platform to show growth is Samsung's Bada, doubling from 1.1% to 2.2%.

While Microsoft still has a long road ahead of it to get Windows Phone to gain share, it probably isn't sorry to see Android surge. For the U.S. market, Microsoft's license agreements cover 53% of Android's share. Getting somewhere between $5 and $15 for each handset sold, Microsoft is making a ton of money off of Google's platform.

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User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2011 | 5:34:24 PM
re: Android Dominates Smartphone Market, Says Gartner
Android may rule among platforms todayGă÷nearly doubling since last yearGă÷but Nokia still leads in handset sales, and as upgrade cycles continue, Microsoft has an opportunity to convert users to its Mango platform with the new Windows phone.
There is a big market still waiting to be tapped, and with WindowsGăÍ integration and familiar user interface, it is still anyoneGăÍs game.
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