Android and Apple’s iPhone OS are now officially the fastest growing smartphone OS in 2009. These two newcomers into the smartphone market is expected to outpace old-timers like RIM’s Blackberry and Nokia’s Symbian OS. However, Symbian and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry still lead the market - but not for long.
Worldwide sales of smartphones running Symbian totaled 80.9 million in 2009, up from 72.9 million a year earlier. Because total smartphone sales grew faster, to 172.4 million from 139.3 million a year earlier, Symbian’s market share declined to 46.9 percent. Second-place RIM’s market share rose to 19.9 percent from 16.6 percent in 2008.
Apple’s smartphone OS took third place. Apple sold 24.9 million iPhones in 2009, compared to 11.4 million in 2008, taking its share of the market to 14.4 percent.
The loser here is Microsoft’s smartphone OS which dropped to the fourth spot with 8.7 percent from as high as 11.8 percent. The launch of a new version, Windows Phones 7 Series, appears to make it a more competitive platform, but as phones based on the rewritten OS won’t show up until late this year, sales will continue to struggle during most of 2010.
Android was only the sixth largest smartphone platform in 2009, with a market share of 3.9 percent. However, that looks likely to change soon. Android phone sales really started to pick up during the fourth quarter. Four million out of a total 6.8 million units were sold during the last three months of 2009. Sixty-nine percent of those were sold in North America.