Smartphone Sales: The State of the (Android) Market

November 23, 2011

smartphones, third quarter, market share


The release of Gartner’s mobile device report for the third quarter revealed staggering new market share numbers.  Android OS now accounts for more than half of the smartphone market share at 52% with Apple dropping about 1% down to 15%. 

Of the 115 million smartphones sold last quarter (an overall increase of 42%), 60 million of those were Android devices such as the Droid 3 and the HTC EVO 3D. 

According to a principal research analyst at Gartner, "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.”

Throw in the fact Apple has delayed the release of a new iPhone and you have a market where Android is firmly at the top.

As a result of the numerous Galaxy devices running on Android, Samsung has overtaken Apple as the No. 1 smartphone maker with 24 million units compared to Apple’s 17 million.

Android’s offering of multiple devices across different price points is the key to its success, according to Hugues de la Vergne from Gartner. 

“Android has a diverse spectrum of devices, ranging from being inexpensive, well under $100, to high-end LTE devices. There's a device at every price point and feature set.”

Google recently announced that it has activated 200 million Android devices to date, drawing closer to the 250 million devices that Apple says it has activated (Apple announced in October when it launched the iPhone 4S).  If Google continues to activate nearly 500,000 devices per day, it will catch up to Apple sooner than later.

Most analysts agree that Android’s high number of activations has nothing to do with more consumer reports on iOS devices but rather the prolific rate at which Android is churning out new devices.  

De La Vergne also points out that while Android might wish to revel in its third quarter glory, they better stay focused because next quarter’s numbers could sing a very different tune.  

With the expected release of a new iPhone to go along with the wide variety of iPhones that are already available across numerous price points, some analysts predict iOS to take back market control for Q4.

In any matter, as the smartphone market continues to rapidly grow, the competition is only going to get better.