GPS Business News: Market research firm Canalys today published its final fourth quarter 2010 global country-level smartphone market data, which revealed that Google’s Android has become the leading platform.
Shipments of Android-based smartphones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. But Nokia did retain its position as the leading global smartphone vendor, with a share of 28%.
The fourth quarter also saw the worldwide smartphone market continue to soar, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89%. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over 2009.
During the fourth quarter volumes of Google OS-based smartphones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments.
At a regional level, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained the largest market, with shipments totalling 38.8 million and a year-on-year growth rate of 90%. Nokia continued to lead in EMEA and Asia Pacific, but in 2010 it was overtaken by RIM in Latin America, which shipped over a million more units than Nokia in Q4 2010. The vendor was particularly helped by the popularity of its mid-range smartphones, such as its Curve family of devices.
The United States continued its reign as the largest country market in terms of shipments, at more than double the size of the Chinese smartphone market. RIM recaptured first place from Apple, as the latter experienced its usual US seasonal dip, and RIM benefited from the first full quarter of shipments for the BlackBerry Torch. HTC successfully maintained its third-place ranking in the US for the third consecutive quarter, driven by its speed to market with the latest Android updates and new Windows Phone 7 devices.
“The US landscape will shift dramatically this coming year, as a result of the Verizon-Apple agreement,” said Canalys Analyst Tim Shepherd. “Verizon will move its focus away from the Droid range, but the overall market impact will mean less carrier-exclusive deals, while increasing the AT&T opportunity for Android vendors, such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung.”
Android was by far the largest smart phone platform in the US market in the fourth quarter 2010, with shipments of 12.1 million units – nearly three times those of RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Windows Phone 7 devices appeared too late in the quarter to take full advantage of holiday season purchasing. As a result, Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010.
South Korea, Japan and China
Analysis of the published country-level data shows that, around the world, the strength of smartphone performances remained diverse. In South Korea, for example, shipments grew from under 700,000 units in Q4 2009 to just under 3.4 million units in Q4 2010, making the country a top 10 market.
In Japan, Android shipments have taken off over the past year, with nearly 1.4 million units shipping from local as well as international vendors, such as HTC. More Japanese vendors have also announced plans to launch Android devices in 2011, such as NEC Casio and Panasonic.
Under pressure from Huawei and Samsung in particular, Nokia’s share in China slipped to 56%, down from 76% a year ago, despite growing its volume in the country by over 70% in the same period. Albeit from a smaller base, the Chinese market grew 134% year-on-year, notably faster than the US market, which grew at 64% in the quarter.
Techwatch: The success story for Google continues to roll onwards when it comes to the company’s operating system Android.
Figures from research firm NPD have indicated that Android has overtaken BlackBerry in the US smartphone market in the second quarter, with a market share of 33% compared to Rim’s 28%.
And now according to a Reuters report, CEO of Google Eric Schmidt has stepped forward with a bold statement regarding just how many Android devices are being flogged.
Schmidt claims that some 200,000 smartphones and other devices which are powered by Android are sold every single day. Which is quite a staggering number when you think about it.
And one that led Schmidt to tell Reuters that mobile ad revenue would eventually outstrip the money Google makes from the PC advertising arena, although he wouldn’t be drawn on committing to any sort of a rough date when this might occur.
All this is certainly much better news for Google than the fate of its Wave project, which was officially canned this week.
Engadget: Pretty good news for Nokia today as it announces its Q4 results. Net income jumped 65% to €948 million (on €12 billion in sales) or 26 eurocents per share, from €576 million euros, or 15 eurocents a share, earned in Q4 2008.
That handily beat the consensus forecast of 19 eurocents per share. Importantly, Nokia grew its smartphone (or “converged devices” in Nokia parlance) marketshare to a healthy 40%, up from 35% just last quarter.
Looking forward, Nokia cautioned that it expects its adjusted operating margin in Devices & Services in Q1 2010 will be at the low end of its 12% to 14% target. At the time of this posting, Nokia stock has jumped about 9% in recognition of these good times.
Stuff.tv: The online rumour mill is churning up some more news about Microsoft’s oft-predicted Zune smartphone. According to MSNBC’s resident tech columnist Jim Goldman, the software giant is beavering away on a highly evolved Zune codenamed “Pink”.
Goldman’s source says the device will combine the functionality of the current range of Zune music players (still unavailable in the UK) with phone technology from Danger Inc., the firm responsible for the T-Mobile Sidekick. Danger Inc. was recently acquired by Microsoft.
Sadly the source didn’t furnish Goldman with any feature or spec info, but he did say that the device could be unveiled as soon as CES in January 2009, with a possible release in February.
Electricpig: Asus is claiming its new P656 smartphone is the very first Windows Mobile 6.1 phone to pack a 800MHz CPU.
The new super smartphone has been launched in Japan and also features a 2.8-inch VGA LCD and offers HSDPA 3.6Mbps, UMTS 2100, EDGE/GPRS/GSM 900/1800/1900 connectivity.
The super specs continue with 256MB of flash memory, 128 MB of DDR SDRAM plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.
The marvelous mobile includes a 3-megapixel camera with autofocus, GPS, microSD with SDHC support, all crammed into a hero-worthy handset that measures 102 x 60.5 x 16mm and weighs 120g.
It’s uncertain whether this fantastic phone will make an appearance in Europe.
NaviGadget: Dell apparently leaked some info on their website this week and revealed their plans to enter GPS enabled smartphone market with two Pharos branded models called Traveller 117 and Traveller 127.
Here is some of what we know so far: the devices are manufactured by Inventec, support a 7.2Mbps HSDPA network, have an A-GPS receiver and run on Windows Mobile 6.1.
They also have a 2MP camera.
ITProPortal: Taiwanese Computer giant Asus is preparing a cute little smartphone called the Zest (or Glaxy 7 or Crystal) which should be competing both with Samsung’s Omnia and the Apple iPhone.
The smartphone, which comes with a front camera, has Blackberry-like trackball pointing device together with Windows Mobile 6 OS underneath and a huge, accelerometer-enabled, 3.5-inch touchscreen capable of displaying 800×480 pixels.
Other features – that have yet to be confirmed, remember – include HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 5-megapixel digital camera, up to 4GB of internal memory and expansion via MicroSD card.
Now, Asus produces smartphones for other well known tech companies apparently and the firm is a well established OEM for Apple.
SlashPhone: MySpace and Research In Motion (RIM) are joining forces to develop an integrated MySpace Mobile experience customized for BlackBerry smartphones.
The new MySpace for BlackBerry smartphones application will be fully optimized and provides instant, push-based messaging to BlackBerry and MySpace users. The application will be available in all BlackBerry markets globally.
As part of this collaboration, RIM is also creating a BlackBerry community page on MySpace for users to access the latest BlackBerry smartphone news, content, videos, games, ringtones, skins and other unique and engaging features.
The MySpace for BlackBerry smartphones application is designed with features including a full messaging interface, including comments, bulletins and messaging.