In recent years, the titans of the handset industry have been surprised by the success of newcomers. First, Apple
– a computer vendor – shook up the smartphone market by storm, taking Nokia’s profit crown
in the process. Then, Google
– an advertising/search firm – brought to market a new mobile operating system, quickly overshadowing historic leaders RIM and Microsoft. Now, Google’s Android has also become the fastest-growing major smartphone platform
, having shipped more than twice as many handsets in the first eight quarters.
Cumulative Shipments, First 8 Quarters
Google’s successful growth has been enabled by strong support from its many partner vendors. As the first Android handset maker, HTC long enjoyed top market share, steadily broadening its portfolio across protocols (including hot “4G” technologies like HSPA+ and WiMAX), global carriers, and retail price points, staying ahead of Android competitors Motorola and Samsung.
Historically, Samsung’s smartphone share had been disproportionate to its successful position in the overall market, and we had long commented on the matter.
However, starting in Q3 2010, Samsung became the world’s largest Android vendor.
Samsung accomplished this by launching an all-out assault across the globe with its Galaxy S family of handsets. For example, in the fickle US market, where each carrier has demanding compliance and customization requirements, Samsung launched a Galaxy S phone with each major carrier.
Samsung’s share of the global handset market has tripled since 2001, when it was already a third-ranked player. Given that historic show of determination, the vendor’s leap to first place in Android smartphones should not at all be surprising. Expect Samsung to expand this leadership position in 2011 and beyond, riding Android’s coattails to huge smartphone volumes.
Samsung Overtakes HTC to Become World's Largest Android Vendor in Q3 2010
Global Smartphone OS Market Share by Region: Q3 2010