As smartphone shipments continue to climb, Google's Android operating system is gaining "impressive momentum" in markets around the world, according to new research by Canalys.
Released Monday, the report indicated that the worldwide smartphone market grew 64 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2010. During the same period, devices powered by the Android platform recorded a hefty 886 percent jump in unit shipments.
Chris Jones, vice president and principal analyst at Canalys, noted that devices such as the Motorola Droid and HTC's Droid Incredible have been well received in the U.S. market, with consumers "eager to download and engage with mobile applications and services such as Internet browsing, social networking, games and navigation".
In the second quarter, Android-based devices in the United States grew 851 percent over the same period last year, making it the largest smartphone platform in the country. Overall, smartphone shipments in the U.S. also totaled 14.7 million units during the quarter, a 41 percent year-on-year jump. The country is the world's largest smartphone market, accounting for 23 percent of global shipments, according to Canalys numbers.
The reception toward Android has been "similarly optimistic" in the Asia-Pacific region, added T.Y. Lau, senior analyst at Canalys. Android devices, she said, are gaining good traction in markets, such as China and South Korea, as an increasing number of consumers clamor for more sophisticated smartphones.
China, according to Canalys, continued to be the world's second-largest smartphone market. During the quarter, the country recorded shipments of 6.9 million units, representing 11 percent of the worldwide total. Shipments of Android devices in the Chinese market reached nearly 475,000 units in second-quarter 2010, from virtually zero a year ago, commanding a 7 percent share in China during the quarter.
Lau noted that Google's substantial involvement in the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), improved relations with Chinese authorities and the renewal of the company's operating license last month, will help ease concerns over the impact on the potential of the OHA-based Android platform as well as the China Mobile-backed Android-based Open Mobile System platform. These concerns have been particularly associated with vendors that have committed resources to produce Android devices for the Chinese market.
Lau said: "Nokia's Symbian devices continue to dominate the market but other vendors are clearly making good headway with Android in China.
"Motorola and Samsung, as well as local vendors such as Dopod, Lenovo and Huawei, are achieving promising volumes on the platform," she said.
Nokia still king
In terms of smartphone handset makers, Nokia led the global market with a 38 percent global share in second-quarter 2010, according to Canalys. The Finnish phone manufacturer shipped 23.8 million smartphones during the quarter, an increase of 41 percent over 2009.
In China, Nokia recorded a 76.9 percent share of the smartphone market in the quarter, leaps ahead of second-placed Motorola which took 4.7 percent and No. 3 vendor Samsung which accounted for 4.1 percent.
Worldwide, Research In Motion took second position and grew its shipments by 41 percent year-on-year in the second quarter. The Blackberry maker, which is the leading vendor in the U.S. where it accounted for 32.1 percent of shipments, had an 18 percent share of the global market.
Apple, with a worldwide share of 13 percent in the second quarter, saw its year-on-year shipment grow by 61 percent, helped in part by the release of iPhone 4, Canalys said.
The research firm added that it expects smartphones to account for over 27 percent of global mobile shipments by 2013, with Western Europe and North America accounting for over 60 percent and 48 percent, respectively.