Android Now Number 1 Smartphone Globally

The latest Canalys numbers put Android ahead of Symbian, and in first place, in smartphone shipments globally for the first time. Apple remains at #3, with their share of the market virtually unchanged. Looking at the numbers, it appears the Android’s share came at the expense of all the other smartphone manufacturers except Apple (okay, they took a tiny bit from Apple, since their share went from 16.3% to 16.0%). Symbian saw the biggest drop in absolute percentage, moving from 44% of the market down to just over 30%. RIM lost about 5%, and Microsoft’s share was cut in half from 7% down to 3%. The Microsoft platforms were the only ones reported that lost in terms of market share and units shipped. Even with their shares reduced, Nokia, RIM and the “Others” category still saw increased unit sales over Q4 2009.

Remember, though, that these are shipments, and not installed base. The numbers, however are telling, as Symbian is aging and Nokia still hasn’t released it’s successor. Windows Phone 7 hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, although it is still early in the operating system’s lifecycle (it did take Android well over a year before it starting shipping in significant numbers). WebOS continues to linger in the “Others” category, not having enough global units shipping to warrant it’s own entry on the charts.

The Verizon deal for the iPhone has the potential to shift the landscape a bit. According to Canalys, the US is still the heavyweight for smartphones, so changes in share there have some impact on global numbers. The Canalys report also indicates that the quarter reported does suffer from some seasonal effects, particularly for Apple, who is often constrained by supply issues during the busy holiday season. It will be interesting to see annual numbers for 2010 to see who sits where.

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