Android big winner as smartphone sales increase 50 percent

Google's mobile operating system becomes number one in North America, third in the world

As worldwide smartphone sales grew by 50 percent during the second quarter, Google's Android was the big winner, as it became the third largest operating system and sales passed 10 million units for the first time, according Gartner.

The Android camp managed to sell 10.6 million smartphones during the second quarter, up from about 755,900 a year ago and 5.2 million during the first three months of 2010. Sales are still mainly driven by North America, where Android is now the number one platform. A large number of smartphones at different price points combined with availability on many operators are the reasons for Android's explosive growth, according to Gartner. Before the end of the year it is expected to become the second largest smartphone operating system, Gartner said.

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Symbian is still the largest smartphone operating system in the world. Sales totaled 25.4 million units, up from 20.9 million a year earlier, but its market share dropped from 51 percent to 41.2 percent.

Research In Motion (RIM) may have been forced to concede the top spot in North America to Android, but it held on to the second spot worldwide. Also, it is still the fourth largest phone maker in the world. Sales grew from 7.8 million to 11.2 million Blackberrys, but its market share dropped from 19 percent to 18.2 percent.

Apple's iOS is now the fourth largest smartphone operating system in the world. Sales grew from 5.3 million to 8.7 million iPhones, and its market share grew from 13.0 percent to 14.2 percent.

In the fifth spot, sales of smartphones based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile stayed at 3.1 million units, with market share dropping from 9.3 percent to 5 percent. The arrival of phones running the Microsoft's new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, are badly needed to give the ailing platform a boost.

Smartphone sales totalled 61.6 million units, which means that almost one in five phones picked up by end users is now a smartphone.

However, all is not well in the smartphone market, at least for the makers, according to Gartner. Shortages of, for example, AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays, had a negative impact on the sales of some new models. Price competition, a growing number of low-cost smartphones and currency fluctuations meant the average sales price dropped, Gartner said.

Overall, the sales of mobile phones continued to grow during the second quarter, totalling 325.6 million units, Gartner said.

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