Android Nears 50 Percent Of Global Smartphones

Android is just shy of the 50 percent mark for the global smartphone market, according to Canalys data

The battle to become the leading smartphone platform around the world seems to be favouring Google.

Worldwide market share for the Android mobile operating system hit 48 percent in the second quarter, researcher Canalys reported.

With 20.3 million iPhones sold, Apple had a 19 percent share, which helped it overtake Nokia’s Symbian platform for second place around the world.

Though Symbian still leads in Brazil, Russia, India and China, Nokia is expected to lose more share as it transitions from Symbian to supporting Microsoft Windows Phone 7.

Android Vs Apple

The first Nokia-Windows Phone 7 combo should appear in the fourth quarter this year. That should boost Microsoft, which shipped less than 1.5 million smartphones in Q2 for a 1 percent global market share.

Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS market share fell 3 percent from Q2 2010 to 12 percent as the company continued to struggle in the US. However, RIM’s global shipments grew 11 percent from a year ago, and it is No. 1 in Latin America with a 28 percent share.

Once again, the Android versus iPhone battle took centre stage in this smartphone report.

Android was the leading platform in 35 of the 56 companies Canalys tracks. Roughly 52 million units shipped on the platform, up 379 percent from over a year ago. Android has an 85 percent share in South Korea and 71 percent in Taiwan.

On the strength of 5 million Galaxy S II phones sold in Korea, Japan and Europe, Samsung was the largest Android device vendor and the No. 2 vendor overall in the market with shipments of its own Bada branded devices at 17 million units.

iPhone Arrival

However, while Samsung also moved ahead of Nokia, Canalys believed it has yet to “fully capitalise on Nokia’s weakened state around the world,” given its global scale and channel penetration.

Still, Samsung is set to launch the Galaxy S II this August in the US, setting up quite a showdown between those sleek, speedy handsets and Apple’s iPhone 5 in September or October.

Canalys Vice President and Principal Analyst Chris Jones said the launch of the iPhone 5 would help Apple fortify its strong position in the second half of 2011.

Canalys said the global smartphone market tallied 107.7 million units shipped in Q2, a big boost of 73 percent from a year ago, year-on-year, with in excess of 107.7 million units shipping in the second quarter of 2011.