Android takes 50% market share, as smart phones out-ship PCs

According to analyst firm Canalys, Android now accounts for over half of all smart phones shipped. Oh, and more smarties than PCs shipped.

Here's something for Google's senior vice president of mobile Andy Rubin to tweet about -- shipments of Android smart phones grew a phenomenal 250 per cent in the last three months of last year, accounting for 52 per cent of all handsets shipped that quarter, according to market analysts Canalys, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Over the year as a whole, Android accounted for 48.8 per cent of all smart phones shipped around the world, meaning nearly five out of every ten smart phones shipped in 2011 sported Google's Android operating system. Pretty impressive.

Of course, this is how many units were 'shipped' (i.e. punted out to shops), as opposed to actually sold, so we should take the numbers with a pinch of salt. What's undeniable, however, is the inexorable rise of the smart phone -- sales exceeded those of PCs for the first time ever, with the collapse of netbooks taking its fair share of the blame. Netbooks dropped by 32 per cent, according to Canalys, with tablets taking over.

Android was up 244.1 per cent over last year, reaching 237.8 million units over the 12 months. (No doubt those 4 million activated over Christmas will have helped.) Apple's iOS was the second most dominant operating system, with its 93.1 million devices accounting for 19.1 per cent of the market. It also showed impressive growth, shipping 96 per cent more units than 2010.

Apple was just ahead of Samsung for handset shipments, though Canalys' numbers don't take into account Samsung phones distributed under other brands, like the Nexus. Factor that in, and Apple sits third behind Nokia and Samsung -- at least, according to a previous survey that goes on sales.

Android has no doubt been boosted by handsets boasting its latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich, chief among them being the Galaxy Nexus

Which is your operating system of choice? Is Android a stolen product, as Steve Jobs said? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.


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