updated 09:15 am EST, Tue November 15, 2011
Gartner shows Android now majority of smartphones
Android now represents the clear majority of smartphones worldwide, Gartner found Tuesday. It had more than doubled its share in the summer versus last year to hit 52.5 percent, leaving all other platforms combined in the minority. Both Nokia's Symbian and Apple's iPhone had declined in share over the summer to 16.9 percent and 15 percent each, although Nokia's rapid collapse in shipments and the known slingshot effect as customers waited for the iPhone 4S meant that Apple would likely take second place in the fall.
RIM took an expected tumble as a slight gain in BlackBerry shipments still led to a steep drop in share, down to 11 percent.
The results were the most humbling for Microsoft. Having already been down to 2.7 percent last summer, it had fallen to 1.5 percent and about 1.7 million phones shipped across all its partners. The sink was such that Bada, a smartphone OS made and used only by Samsung for a small number of mostly entry-level devices, was larger at 2.2 percent.
It wasn't clear if Android could repeat the performance in the near future. It took advantage of more lower-cost smartphones but also Apple's delay as well as lackluster BlackBerry and Windows Phone lineups, neither of which had their widest revisions until the fall. Google might take advantage of Nokia's likely continued slump for the season, since it won't have shipped the Lumia models until just this week and will have attached itself to Microsoft's platform.
In overall cellphone share, Nokia still had the lead, but at 23.9 percent was falling quickly and had let the gap narrow with Samsung's slight increase to 17.8 percent. Apple was now within striking distance of overtaking LG, as it had still climbed to 3.9 percent where LG had fallen steeply to 4.8 percent. China-area companies were the fastest growers as ZTE, HTC, and Huawei had managed to respectively overtake RIM, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.
Motorola, the only other US company in the group besides Apple, had managed to claw back cellphone share after years of losses to go back up to 2.5 percent, based not just on its US share but its renewed effort in China.