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Android still rules in mobile market

Google's Android platform dominates almost 50 percent of the global smartphone market, with Asia-Pacific remaining its largest market.

Google's Android platform dominates almost 50 percent of the global smartphone market, with Asia-Pacific remaining its largest market.

Research firm Canalys reported the international market grew 73 percent year-on-year,  showing substantial growth in all regions with more than 107 million units shipped in the last quarter. 

Of the 56 countries Canalys tracks around the world, Android led in 35 of them and achieved a global market share of 48 percent.

Nearly 40 million units were shipped to Asia-Pacific, compared with 35 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 32.9 million in the Americas.

Apple's iOS overtook Nokia’s Symbian platform during the quarter with a market share of 19 percent, coming in at second place. With shipments of 20.3 million iPhones, Apple also became the world’s leading individual smartphone vendor, stripping Nokia of its long-held crown.

"The iPhone has been a phenomenal success story for Apple and a watershed product for the market," said Canalys VP and principal analyst Chris Jones.

"It’s an impressive success story, given that Apple has only been in the smartphone market for four years. With the next-generation iPhone anticipated in Q3, it’s likely that Apple’s position will grow even stronger in the second half of the year."

Samsung also moved ahead of Nokia, with its flagship Galaxy S II product performing well.

Canalys said its overall performance was underwhelming, however, considering the opportunities offered by upheaval at Nokia.

"Samsung has failed to fully capitalise on Nokia’s weakened state around the world, as the Finnish company rides out a challenging transitional period," Jones said.

"It’s the best placed vendor to grow at Nokia’s expense, taking advantage of its global scale and channel reach, but it hasn’t yet done enough to capitalise on this, particularly in emerging markets."

Samsung was the largest Android device vendor and the number two vendor overall in the market with shipments of its own-branded devices at 17 million units.

Android, the number one platform since Q4 2010, was also the strongest growth driver this quarter, with shipments up 379 percent over a year ago to 51.9 million units. Growth was bolstered by strong Android product performances from a number of vendors, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei.

Android devices were particularly popular in South Korea, where it holds an 85 percent platform share, and Taiwan, where it has 71 percent.

Emerging markets

Canalys principal analyst Pete Cunningham said Nokia’s leadership position has proved most resilient in key emerging markets, and still leads in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China.

"The problem for Nokia is that demand for its Symbian-based smartphones has dissipated very rapidly, particularly in operator-led markets, such as Western Europe, where it’s been strong in the past.

"It badly needs the first of its Windows Phone devices to launch as soon as possible to arrest a decline and, hopefully, silence its critics."

Blackberry manufacturer RIM’s global shipments grew 11 percent year on year, keeping it the number one vendor in Latin America. 

But it had a challenging quarter in North America, with its market share slipping to 12 percent from 33 percent a year ago. It also recently announced 2000 job cuts.

"It’s easy to be negative about BlackBerry in the US, but it’s important to remember that in other markets, particularly emerging markets, it continues to see significant interest and uptake of its devices, for example in Indonesia and South Africa where it is the leading smartphone vendor," said Jones.