If there was ever a period of time that showed, it was last quarter.
During the three-month period that ended September 30, 60.5 million Android-based smartphones shipped worldwide, helping the mobile operating system secure 52.5 percent of the market, research firm Gartner revealed today. In just one year, Android has more than doubled its market share; in the third quarter of 2010, Android's share stood at 25.3 percent. Furthermore, Android smartphone shipments for the quarter just about tripled from the 20.5 million that hit store shelves in the same period last year to the 60.5 million figure for this year's third quarter.
All that success was detrimental to Apple, Gartner found. Whereas last year, Apple secured 16.6 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter with 13.5 million shipments, the company's iOS platform was only able to muster 15 percent market share last quarter on 17.3 million iPhones sold. That put Apple's mobile operating system behind Symbian, which secured 16.9 percent of the market during the quarter.
"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," Gartner principal research analyst Robert Cozza said in a statement. "Apple's iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone."
But Apple wasn't alone. RIM saw its market share drop from 15.4 percent in the third quarter last year to 11 percent this year, with 12.7 million smartphone shipments in the quarter. Microsoft's Windows Phone market share slid to 1.5 percent from the 2.7 percent share it secured a year earlier. Even worse for Microsoft, it fell behind Samsung's Bada operating system, which nabbed 2.2 percent of the market in the third quarter.
Total mobile device sales
Gartner also examined total mobile device sales during the third quarter. Not surprisingly Nokia easily beat out all others, selling 105.4 million handsets during the period to secure 23.9 percent market share. Samsung came on strong to take the second spot with 78.6 million mobile device shipments and 17.8 percent market share.
From there, mobile device shipments fell off a cliff. The third-place company, LG, shipped 21 million mobile devices last quarter, securing 4.8 percent of the market. Apple came in fourth with 17.3 million iPhone shipments and 3.9 percent share.
Industrywide, things were looking up in the third quarter. Total worldwide mobile device shipments hit 440.5 million during the period, up from the 417.1 million in the third quarter of 2010. Total smartphone shipments reached 115.2 million worldwide--up considerably from the 81.1 million units that shipped a year ago.