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Android sales beat iOS in Q1

Apple still in third place, as market share shows small increase

Android rose to become the dominant mobile operating system in the world during the first three months of 2011, with Apple's iOS only gaining a small amount of market share over the previous year.

According to a report published by research group Gartner, Android commanded a market share of 36.0 per cent in Q1, up from just 9.6 per cent at the same time in 2010. This represents a total installed userbase of almost 36.3 million smartphones.

In 2010 the most successful OS was Symbian, with a massive 44.2 per cent market share. This has fallen to 27.4 per cent in 2011 and will continue to fall as Nokia abandons the technology in favour of Windows Phone 7.

In the interim though Microsoft's mobile operating systems remained the lowest rank individual OS, with market share falling from 6.8 per cent to 3.6 percent over the course of the last 12 months.

Blackberry makers RIM also saw a fall in market share, from 19.7 per cent to 12.9 per cent, while Apple's iOS saw only a small increase from 15.3 per cent to 16.8 per cent - for a new installed base of around 16.9 million devices.

"Every time a user downloads a native app to their smartphone or puts their data into a platform's cloud service, they are committing to a particular ecosystem and reducing the chances of switching to a new platform," claims the Gartner report.

"As well as putting their devices in the context of a broader ecosystem, manufacturers must start to see their smartphones as part of a computing continuum."

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Latest comments (10)

James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios5 years ago
Cloud service? Ecosystem? Computing continuum?

Has this chap just read a book on the latest buzzwords and decided to use them all at once?

Although they don't mention that iOS is still ahead in app revenue with 47% compared to Android's 36%. So if you're a developer, iOS is still more attractive.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Boulton on 20th May 2011 12:33pm

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
<em>"Android commanded a market share of 36.0 per cent in Q1 ... This represents a total installed userbase of almost 36.3 million smartphones."
"Apple's iOS saw only a small increase from 15.3 per cent to 16.8 per cent - for a new installed base of around 16.9 million devices."</em>

So according to these figures, there's basically about 100 million smartphones in the world at the moment? That seems surprisingly low, and in fact conflicts with a recent GI article saying there are 100 million Android devices in the world. From these figures that would mean there's just shy of 300 million out there, which based on Apple's sales in the last few years particularly, seems much more realistic.

"Microsoft's mobile operating systems remained the lowest rank individual OS, with market share falling from 6.8 per cent to 3.6 percent over the course of the last 12 months."

I'm sure the Nokia pairing next year will help them out, but after hundreds of millions of marketing money it must be a kick in the teeth for them to still be losing market share.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 20th May 2011 12:59pm

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Diane Lagrange Founder and Consultant, ICO Partners5 years ago
The original article ( http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=16... )explains that 100 million is the worlwide smartphone sales in Q1 2011 . The article should mention Q1 market share and not installed base I assume.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Diane Lagrange on 20th May 2011 1:34pm

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Show all comments (10)
The windows phone had a terrible interface.
The samsung s2 was lush though.
iOS is lacking because people are waiting for the iPhone 5.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
Is it worth noting that android has some budget smartphones, such as the HTC wildfire, where as Apple only does high end? Or that all iOS phones are apple but android sales are split between several manufacturers?

I get confused with the whole symbian thing. They seem to have been leading last year, they are second for this quarter, and the reason Nokia was ditching it's own OSs was due to bad performance compared to rivels. How is being the first/second biggest OS (and ahead of the definitely not struggling iOS) failing?
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments5 years ago
@andrew - I think the symbian thing was based on a downward trend and/or regional sales. They probably know sales figures a while before we do as well.

As for android selling more due to including low end, most phone platforms have a low end option - so it's more that iOs is unusual in not having one.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
@ Andrew

I think it's the drop-off rate for Symbian market share which is the biggest issue - it had something ridiculous like 80% market share about 6 years ago, but that's been steadily decreasing with each year and it seems the OS is not up to the standard of its rivals. For whatever reason, Nokia decided that rather than investing in re-developing what they had, they would scrap it and use Windows Phone 7 as their main OS.

Presumably Apple make a ton more money from their whole phone/OS division than Google do with Android, as for every iOS user that person must have paid hundreds of pounds or dollars for Apple's own hardware too. Google don't really seem to have invested much in making in-house or licensed hardware, but obviously opening Android up to other manufacturers and the sheer number of handset which support it is where their market position has come from.
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Mike Wells Writer 5 years ago
Jeez, this is old news. Canalys published Q1 smart phone data over 2 weeks ago. There's a load of older releases on their site too if anyone's interested in the trends, eg, Symbian's decline.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mike Wells on 20th May 2011 9:12pm

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Tom Keresztes Programmer 5 years ago
Even thought its still possible to generate revenue on the Android, it is mostly through ad supported (or other freemium) models, not direct sales like on iOS.
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Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster5 years ago
It depends on what apps you make, Tom. At the moment I've spent well over 30 on music design software from the marketplace, but because my phone lacks in the graphics processing department, I'm hesitant to buy a game. I mean its a 50 phone so its probably my fault but my gameboy is all the mobile gaming I'll ever need :)
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