It’s been a long time coming and should come as no surprise to anyone who has been tracking Android’s meteoric rise — both in the U.S. and worldwide — that Google’s mobile OS has finally outpaced Nokia’s stalwart Symbian platform as the leading smartphone OS worldwide.
Engadget, citing figures by Canalys, reports that Android sold 33.3 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2010. That’s a 13-million device spike from even the previous quarter, which saw 20.3 million Android devices moved. Now second-place Symbian sold 31 million devices in Q4 2010.
According to the Canalsy press release, the number of Android devices sold was slightly less than Engadget‘s reported figure, at 32.9 million — still enough to retain the number one spot.
Canalys also pointed out that Nokia still retained its spot as the number one global smartphone vendor, dominating 28 percent of the market. Android can’t compete in that department thanks to the fractured nature of its platform, allowing multiple vendors to support the OS — for this reason, Netgear CEO Patrick Lo predicts Android will become the de facto standard on a range of consumer electronic devices. HTC and Samsung combined for almost 45 percent of Android device sales, with LG, Acer, and others rounding out the rest.
2010 also signaled huge year-over-year growth in terms of total worldwide smartphone sales. “The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over 2009,” Canalys said.
The important U.S. market continued to dominate regionally, as well, with double the amount of smartphones sold than China. “Android was by far the largest smart phone platform in the US market in Q4 2010, with shipments of 12.1 million units – nearly three times those of RIM’s BlackBerry devices,” Canalys said.
The biggest loser, perhaps, was Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform. It appeared too late in the quarter to fully capture the holiday buying window. As a result, Microsoft’s market share dipped from 8 percent in Q4 of 2009 to 5 percent in the same quarter of 2010.
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