March of Androids fails to knock Nokia


March of Androids fails to knock Nokia

Alex Scroxton

The explosive growth of the Android smartphone operating system in the western European market put a dent in Nokia's sales in the last quarter of 2010, but has not yet knocked the old guard from its perch at the top of the tree.

Total mobile phone shipments across the region were up 3.2% year-on-year to 58.7 million units, according to IDC's European mobile phone tracker, with smartphone shipments accounting for 25.6m units or 44% of the addressable market.

Shipments of Nokia phones dipped 11% to 19.6 million units or 33% of the market in the last three months of the year, said IDC. Samsung shipped 15.3 million phones, landing it a 27% share, while third placed Apple accounted for 9% of the market, shipping 5.2 million iPhones during the quarter.

The top five was rounded out by Sony Ericsson and RIM, which both accounted for approximately 7% of the market.

In terms of smartphones shipped, Nokia maintained its market leadership position, with Apple second, RIM third, HTC fourth and Sony Ericsson fifth. All five vendors saw growth in this category.

IDC analysts said that strong promotional offers and discounts across the board contributed to the strength of smartphone sales in the region, with Android shipments up to 7.9 million units from 470,000 this time last year, while Apple benefited from making the iPhone available to more network operators. Notably, in the UK, RIM took the top spot.

"The western European mobile market will be dominated by smartphones, and Android will be king of the hill," said IDC mobile devices research manager Francisco Jeronimo.

"Android surged from 4% to 31% market share in less than a year to become the market leader in the quarter, and the fastest growing operating system ever. IDC estimates that [it] will grow at a 37% CAGR between 2010 and 2015, overtaking overall market growth and that of its direct competitor, iOS," he added.

Jeronimo suggested that some of that growth would inevitably come from cannibalisation of Nokia sales as Apple and the Android-builders capitalise on uncertainty surrounding its tie-up with Microsoft.

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