updated 09:00 am EST, Wed November 10, 2010
Gartner Q3 2010 phone share has Android near Nokia
Symbian has lost more than a sixth of its smartphone market share in just the past year, Gartner found today. The platform, used almost exclusively by Nokia, fell from 44.6 percent last summer to 36.6 percent a year later. RIM's BlackBerry platform, despite its record high sales, also plunged sharply as it fell from 20.7 percent a year ago to 14.8 percent this summer.
Android was the only platform to get an unambiguously large gain, as the rapid expansion since the launch of the Motorola Droid last November jumped it from just 3.5 percent to 25.5 percent, putting it much closer to Symbian. Apple ended up losing share despite the iPhone 4's surge, moving from 17.1 percent to 16.7 percent, but the sheer number of devices moved it ahead of RIM.
Windows Mobile's share has been cut to less than half, from 7.9 percent to 2.8 percent, while Microsoft let the platform ramp down as it switched to Windows Phone. Linux also plunged from 4.7 percent to 2.1 percent.
In the total cellphone arena, Nokia again saw its lead drop to about 28.2 percent, while Samsung and LG also fell to 17.2 percent and 6.6 percent respectively. Apple and RIM both gained share in this environment, at 3.2 and 2.9 percent, as the still heavy emphasis on basic phones at many of their rivals gave the two smartphone makers an edge. HTC, which focuses mostly on Android, also nearly doubled its total phone share to 1.6 percent.
Gartner attributed the downward pressure on Nokia in the larger sphere to "white-box" Asian manufacturers. The small, frequently China-based companies have staked out larger claims both in China but also in Africa, India, Latin America and Russia. Their combined share grew to 33 percent this summer and left the larger companies fighting for a smaller share than in the past.
Analysts also added that the phone share wasn't wholly representative of a given platform's influence. Unlike Google or Symbian, Apple had the advantage of the iPod touch and iPad to give iOS much more actual presence. Companies like Samsung have begun making MP3 players and tablets with Android, but these have much smaller share where almost every other Android device is a smartphone.
A Verizon iPhone could have a volatile effect on Android, the data pointed out. Google is heavily dependent on Verizon in the US, as about 75 to 80 percent of all the CDMA carrier's smartphone sales use the OS, Gartner said. While Android has been iterating rapidly and reaching into both high-end and budget realms, any softening of Android sales at Verizon from an iPhone could affect the platform itself. Verizon's preferred choice of platform has been subject to change as it once preferred Windows Mobile but then refocused on BlackBerry and later Android after none of them challenged rapid increases in iPhone sales.