1 in 4 smartphones run Android


417.1 million mobile phones were sold globally in the quarter ending September 2010. This is a 35 percent year on year growth. 340.5 million mobile phones were sold globally for the quarter ending June 2010. That is a growth of 22 percent quarter over quarter. Smartphones have seen a 96 percent year on year growth. Smartphones now make up 19.3 percent of total mobile sales and this figure is likely to increase dramatically.

Smartphone sales have some interesting trends. Nokia  is tops, though with a reduced share. Apple has beat RIM for the second quarter in a row. Apple and RIM, which have a smartphone-only strategy, have occuped the fourth and fifth position respectively in the overall sales. Nokia, Samsung and LG still lead with a combined market share of 52 percent. HTC, Huawei and ZTE have entered the top 10 list.

The most interesting trend is in the software segment. Mobile operating systems which were hugely dominated by Symbian until only a year ago, look completely different. Android is the new darling of smartphone users and manufacturers. From a mere 3.5 percent market share a year ago, Android overtook iOS and RIM to occupy the second spot with 20.5  percent market share. Of the 80.5 million smartphones sold,  20.5 million phones are running Android. 1 in every 4 phones runs Android.

Symbian whose lead looked unassailable only a year ago is suddenly looking weak. Next quarter will be very crucial for Android, not so for Symbian. Android which is still considered to be inferior to iOS will continue to gain market share. It would do so even if many would find its user interface ugly. If the current trend and craze is anything to go by, Android will become the topmost smartphone OS in the world beating Symbian next quarter.

Symbian’s share will be declining further. Nokia is finding it difficult to embrace Android and is on the lookout for a new OS.  MeeGo, a joint venture between Intel and Nokia, could be its savior and probably Android’s most apt and biggest competitor. Windows Mobile 7, which is Microsoft’s second coming on to mobiles, is pushing very hard to make head way into the mobile OS market. Microsoft has earmarked $1bn for pushing Windows Mobile 7 and gifted all its employees with phones running its mobile OS.  

Symbian would be a thing of past very soon. That would really leaves us with 2 closed operating systems and 3 open operating systems. Now don’t take the definition of open literally as we have Microsoft in the fray. May be too early for Meego, but Android was like Meego only a year ago. Android, Meego and Windows Mobile 7 are the 3 operating systems which are agnostic to hardware manufacturers. iOS and RIM are sold only on the respective hardware manufacturers. This will definitely limit iOS and RIM’s proliferation, though they would still maintain a healthy market share.

Android, Meego and Windows Mobile 7 are all set for a triangular dance.