Google's Android OS has seen extraordinary worldwide growth in the past year, with shipments of Android-based smartphones up 886 percent in the second quarter of 2010 versus the second quarter of 2009. That's the word from research firm Canalys, which in a study released Monday cited Android's "impressive momentum" around the world and awarded Android the top spot smartphone OS market share in the United States.
Some of the most buzzed-about smartphones from the first half of 2010 are Android phones, and Canalys cited uptake of the OS by HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG, among others, as contributing to Android's substantial gains.
"In the United States, for example, we have seen the largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, heavily promoting high-profile Android devices such as the Droid by Motorola and the Droid Incredible by HTC," said Chris Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst, in a statement. "These products have been well-received by the market, with consumers eager to download and engage with mobile applications and services, such as Internet browsing, social networking, games and navigation."
Overall, according to Canalys, smartphone shipments grew 64 percent year over year. Behind Android, it was Apple that posted the best year-over-year growth for the quarter, up 61 percent.
Canalys' rankings by OS give Nokia Symbian the No. 1 spot worldwide, with a 43.5 percent share. Behind Symbian is Research In Motion's BlackBerry, with an 18 percent share, Android, with a 17.1 percent share, Apple, with a 13.5 percent share, and Microsoft with a 4.9 percent share.
The U.S. smartphone market -- the largest in the world by a wide margin and accounting for 23 percent of global smartphone shipments according to Canalys -- grew 41 percent year over year. Android shipments grew 851 percent in the U.S. in the quarter, Canalys notes, and phones running Android accounted for 34 percent of shipments during the second quarter.
By smartphone manufacturer, Research In Motion retained the top spot in the U.S., with a 32.1 percent share, followed by Apple (21.7 percent) and HTC (14.4 percent).
China, the world's second largest smartphone market, accounted for 11 percent of the world's total smartphone shipments in Q2, Canalys noted. Android shipments were 475,000, up from a near-negligible presence in China in the year-ago quarter to a 7 percent share of the smartphone market there this quarter.