Google Android's astonishing march to smartphone supremacy continues, and Google can now lay claim to more than 25 percent of global smartphone OS market share, according to new numbers from Gartner. With the small galaxy of Google Android-powered devices growing bigger every week, it seems, worldwide smartphone domination is very much in Android's future.
Researcher Gartner's latest numbers on worldwide mobile phone sales, released Wednesday, show 417 million units sold in the third quarter, with smartphone sales growing 96 percent from the third quarter of last year and accounting for 19.3 percent of overall mobile phone sales in the quarter.
Although Apple made the most gains among manufacturers, the story of Gartner's numbers is Google, whose Android operating system now claims 25.5 percent of the worldwide market share for smartphone OSes. That was enough of a surge to put Android at No. 2, right behind Nokia's Symbian platform, which claims 36.6 percent.
But the writing's on the wall, it appears: Android shot like a rocket to 25.5 percent from 3.5 percent a year ago, and Nokia declined from 44.6 percent last year. No other smartphone OS gained or declined that dramatically; Apple's iOS, which has the No. 3 share, actually lost share, from 17.1 percent in the year-ago quarter to 16.7 percent in 2010's third quarter. RIM, in fourth place, also lost share, down from 20.7 percent to 14.8 percent year over year. Microsoft, in fifth place, plummeted from 7.9 percent to 2.8 percent year over year.
Gartner estimated that Android phones account for 75 percent to 80 percent of Verizon Wireless' smartphone trade in the third quarter, and noted Google's fast pace of OS updates.
"Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.' "Any platform that fails to innovate quickly -- either through a vibrant multiplayer ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity -- will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users."
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