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Android Surpasses 50 Percent Share in Smartphone OS Market

Once again leading the smartphone OS race is Google's open source Android platform, which according to Gartner shipped on 60.5 million units worldwide in Q3 2011 -- nearly triple the Android units shipped in the year-ago quarter. Android closed the quarter with 52.5 percent market share, up from 25.3 percent in Q3 2010.

"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

Trailing Android are the Symbian (16.9 percent market share) and Apple's iOS (15.0 percent). Both OSes recorded declines from their respective year-ago market shares of 36.3 percent and 16.6 percent. However, Gartner projects that iOS will have a strong Q4 due to robust iPhone 4S presales and growing adoption in emerging economies, particularly in the wake of price cuts for older iPhone versions.

Rounding out the top five smartphone OSes are BlackBerry OS (11.0 percent market share) and the Samsung Bada (2.2 percent).

According to Gartner, Microsoft's mobile OS dropped 0.1 percent in the third quarter -- the smallest quarterly drop this year.

Just over 1.7 million Windows Phone-based smartphones shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2011. That number represents a 22.8 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, when 2.2 million Windows Phone-based smartphones shipped.

Windows Phone closed Q3 2011 with 1.5 percent market share, down from 2.7 percent in Q3 2010.

However, Windows Phone's market share has stayed relatively flat from quarter to quarter. According to an August announcement by Gartner, Windows Phone's market share in Q2 2011 was only incrementally higher, at 1.6 percent, suggesting the platform's rate of decline may be slowing. (The decline between Q1 2011 and Q2, for instance, was 2.0 percentage points.)

Recent mobile market share numbers from comScore also seem to suggest that while Windows Phone continues to lose market share, it's doing so at a trickle. In an October report, the analytics firm compared Windows Phone's average U.S. market share over the three months ending in May to the three months ending in August and found that it dropped by only 0.1 percentage point.

As RCP Editor in Chief Scott Bekker wrote in a blog post at the time, the numbers indicate that "Microsoft's rate of market share loss is moving in the right direction."

"Previous comScore reports had Microsoft dropping 1.7 points of share in June and 1.0 points in July, so the 0.1 point loss is downright stable," he noted.

In another report released earlier this month, comScore found a similarly marginal decline of 0.2 percentage points when comparing Windows Phone's average U.S. market share over three three months ending in June to the three months ending in September.

By comparison, in each comScore report, Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS recorded a higher subscriber base than Windows Phone but sustained market share losses of 5.0 and 4.6 percentage points.

Gartner

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the site editor for RCPmag.com.

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