Android has surged past Symbian to become the world's most popular smartphone operating system. So show Q4 2010 figures from market watcher Canalys, released today, which give Google a 32.9 per cent market share ahead of Nokia, which took 30.6 per cent of the market. Apple took 16 per cent of the market, Research in Motion (Rim …
It just starts sounding strange. Wasn't the Apple guys boasting a larger share not that long ago? Or are these figures bogus? You know, like "Smart Phones" but omit the iPhone 4?
Or is the test demographic biased to only people who go for non-locked-in apparel? Or was the Apple quotes bogus previously? Why does it seem like a see-saw ride every time these "figures" are listed?
Don't get me wrong, with my Moto Milestone I'm actually an Android fan through and through. I can understand why Nokia might be loosing ground (having had a S60 based phone previously). But from all I've heard (and read) the iPhone isn't a dog-turd, usage-wise (except for those "upsets" like antenna-gate). It's hard to believe the Apple-lovers have suddenly become endangered in comparison to the 'Droidies.
Confusion caused by Android growing explosively
You're probably confused by two things.
One, we're talking about market share so even though Apple sold nearly double the number of phones they did this quarter last year, which is pretty good growth, it just so happened that the market as a whole also roughly doubled, so their share of the pie is static even though there's many more iPhone users this year.
The second thing is that Android is growing at an even more ridiculously fast rate. So last year, Apple had twice the share of Android at 16% to 8%. However, while Apple's share is static at 16% (their sales growing very slightly less than the market as a whole) Android's have shot up to 32%. (That's 615% growth, in a market growing at an average of 89%, and in which no other mobile OS is growing at above that average).
There's also the issue that Apple (and Nokia)'s head start means they have more phones out there as installed base, even though Android is selling more now. However, the growth rate of the market, and of Android's share of the market means that total won't take long to be passed, even if you add in non-phone iOS devices like iPod Touch and iPad.
I think it's fair to say that, without access to any kind of raw data, these figures should be taken with liberal amounts of sodium chloride.
As you stated, the last few, which at least showed something tangible, ended up lumping all iPhones in one against a single phone, or completely cutting off a section of the market.
Statistics are wonderfully pliable things.
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.
Slightly misleading ...
what the article really says is that Android is the best selling mobile OS at the moment.
Somehow I think that there will be massively more Symbian devices in service than Android ones, which would still make Symbian the most popular.
Maybe I'm wrong...
...but this is sales, nothing to do with that currently owned.
Fair play to Android. It's a versatile, if dreadfully tedious, mobile OS, and I'm quite convinced that 95% of the people who buy an Android device don't know it's Android or what version is on the device. However, I'll give it it's due - it's flexible and has some very good features....if you don't mind Google swallowing whole everything about your life.
I think that year-to-year sales figures are good to a degree, but relatively misleading in a market where phones are sold on a standard of 2-year contracts.
Tinfoil hat time.. Google don't swalloe whole everything about your life if you own a Android phone...
Personally I find it very handy that my calendar and contacts (and gmail) are all sync'd on my phone(s) and on my Gmail account. I never need to lose anything ever again, and having closely looked at the privacy, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Looks like it's FUD time
@"if you don't mind Google swallowing whole everything about your life"
You do in most cases, have the option of allowing Google zero of your personal information, so the privacy paranoid, such as myself, can bend the platform to their own will, if so desired...
Not tinfoil hat - admitted policies..
Google (and their esteemed ex-CEO) have already made it abundantly clear that if you have any data on the internet they view it as theirs to own to do with as they wish. They openly state they scan all of your email and contacts. I have not yet seen a single answer from Google as to the many and deliberate questions put to them as regards to what data is sent to Google from Android, but I haven't yet installed a version of Android that didn't have the assumption that you want and use only Google-only services and that you want anything sent to them that they ask for.
And as functionality was raised, I like my Windows Phone 7 device, incorporating my two different Exchange/Outlook accounts and my Live Mail (Hotmail) account, my calendar and contacts are direct from my server so they are kept private, AND Microsoft's terms and conditions explicitly state they do not go through your data, whereas Google's pretty much demand that they do. Google's privacy terms are hideous though, and I think you may have been either bamboozled or not very well read if you think there is ANY privacy with Google's services.
A natural consequence of Android reaching <£100 handsets
The high-end Android vendors we read about only account for 50% of these numbers. Moto and SE continue to be in trouble, but HTC and Samsung are doing well, albeit not quite keeping up with the overall market growth. These major brands combine to less than 1/2 Symbian sales for the year in total - indicating that the increase comes from ZTE and minor brand Chinese manufactures. Did anyone notice ZTE just jumped into the top 5 global sellers list with their massively low cost handsets, running a low resolution which also can't run most of the big apps (slow CPU & no GPU).
Since Symbian has become a single-vendor platform, it is unlikely to continue to be able to reach >30%. Of course, it looks pretty bad coming from a near-100% market share as the inventor of consumer-focussed smartphones almost ten years ago.
Welcome to the world Symbian has been living in for the last 4 or 5 years, Android handset vendors. A place where the majority of customers aren't buying smartphones - just the latest phone being pushed by the operator. A high percentage aren't interested in apps, don't have a flat-rate data service and spend nothing on services after purchase.
It'll be interesting to see if the recent Symbian OEM bloodbath repeats itself in a few years, where all the non-Nokia Symbian vendors found themselves unable to keep up and ended up moving to Android. Will HTC or Samsung or Moto be able to do the same to the other Android vendors or will the Google-sponsored service layer prevent it? Will HTC find another backup plan since WP7 is looking fragile, and will Bada continue to perform well converting Featurephone buyers to smartphones?
Interesting times indeed.
Nokia still number one
Presumably Nokia are still the number one seller (both in the arbitrarily defined "smartphone" category, and the more objective category of phones). It was inevitable that Android would likely become number one, as it's been picked up by most other companies - it's Nokia versus everyone else.
~30% for the largest company is still very respectable (after all, Apple's OS X stands as an alternative OS at less than 10% share, and no one complains about that).
And as the article notes, Nokia haven't actually lost sales, the number of sales of Symbian phones still increases.
The other news is, once again, Symbian still outsells Apple - so can we quit the endless coverage of Apple, whilst Nokia get ignored except when it's "bad" news? If being number three or number four is good for Apple, why isn't being number two good? Similarly for Android, whose uses were happy to use it for years when it wasn't anywhere near number one.
"Everything still the same" doesn't make you read a story.
Agree with you, but in fairness to The Register, they aren't Apple drum-beaters like Engadget or Gizmodo, and retain a healthy cynicism of the hyperbole that spews from either end of CA-85.
As for Nokia coverage - again, what the Reg have written on them seems fairly balanced, but I think Nokia also have to meet the trade press half-way and announce something newsworthy. MeeGo is probably the next time this will happen, and that's summer.
Sure, Symbian3 has been clocking up steady, respectable sales, but their market share is never going to grow 600% year-on-year for mathematically obvious reasons, and let's face it: "Nokia continues to sell lots of phones" isn't news, except once a year in the finance pages.
Android will continue to grow, but not for reasons that would please its fans. Pretty soon, Android will become the go-to choice for no-name handset vendors looking for something to run their quick-buck hardware on, and Android's price almost guarantees its future as the number one OS inside those Chinese-made Nokia and iPhone knockoffs, and like the fake-phone OSes of today, it'll be a dog on that kind of hardware.
On that note, those writing off Nokia should consider for a moment why these fake phones still look like iPhones and Nokia models, and not any of the high-end Android phones.
Apples & oranges
Some of these figures aren't directly comparable - "Smartphone OS sales" would sometimes include anything running iOS i.e. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch etc, depending on whose figures they are. That doesn't compare directly to sales of smartphones.
To add to my earlier post, here's the figures looking at things by manufacturer: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Motorola-HTC-RIM-Missing-from-Smartphone-Top-5-IDC-445624/
(This also includes "feature" phones rather than just "smart" phones, but I'd argue that makes it more accurate, since the definitions are rather arbitrary. Why is it fair to compare Apple's entire phone sales, to only some of Nokia's, just based on how they market their phones?)
Nokia are indeed the market leader. Apple make the top 5 - but note how Nokia absolutely dwarf them, shipping a staggering ten times as many phones.
You'll upset iPhans presenting data this way
To keep the Jobs Mob happy you are supposed to divvy up the Android market, on the basis that they are not really the same, by manufacturer and then iPhans will think Apple is on top.
Of course, the real world knows the truth - likely why they don't buy the Lemons - that Android is No. 1 no matter what the Cupertino lie factory, sorry, Apples PR lot say.
give something away for free and it becomes market leader.....
trouble is that market share is one thing, but at the end of the day cold hard $$$ is what matters. for Apple's 16% they get $600 on every sale of an iPhone. On Google's 30%, they get f-all.
and as all the other research recently is pointing out, Apple's 16% of the market are buying far more than the Android markets. so again, Apple is making the money that Google isn't.
Google are a one trick money pony.
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