The smartphone revolution shows no signs of weakening, and Google’s Android as well as Apple’s iOS are leading the way; 80.5 million smartphones were sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2010, a 96% increase compared to the same period last year, a new report from Gartner has found. Android accounted for 25.5% of worldwide smartphone sales with 20.5 million handsets sold, which makes it the second biggest smartphone platform, behind Nokia’s Symbian (which is growing, but not fast enough to retain its market share) and Apple’s iOS, which now has 16.7% market share with 13.5 million handsets sold in Q3 2010.
Symbian and RIM are hanging on, both showing growth as far as the number of devices sold is concerned, but the table above makes it painfully obvious that Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS have the momentum, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. On the other hand, the only clear loser is Microsoft, whose market share fell from 7.9% in the third quarter of 2009 to 2.8% in Q3 2010, with only 2.2 million devices sold.
Gartner sees two ways to succeed in the smartphone market, one fitting the description of Apple’s iOS and the other of Android. “Any platform that fails to innovate quickly — either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity — will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. Unfortunately, RIM, Nokia and Microsoft’s smartphone strategy have only recently starting to take shape resembling one or the other, and it’ll take time for them to catch up with Apple and Google.
Looking at Gartner’s numbers for all phones and not just smartphones, worldwide mobile phone sales totaled 417 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 35% increase from the third quarter of 2009, with the top five mobile phone makers being Nokia, Samsung, LG, Apple and RIM.