Apple dominates smartphone sales but iOS still lags behind Android — Gartner

Apple is now the world’s top smartphone manufacturer, but iOS still has less than half the market share of Android. That’s according to the latest findings from renowned tech research firm Gartner.

According to the report, around 51% of the world’s smartphones are rocking Android, with iPhones accounting for just under 24%.

Both appear to have taken market share from Symbian and Research in Motion. The former went from having running on just over a third of smartphones on the market in 2010 to just under 12%. The latter meanwhile went from 14.6% of market share to 8.8%.

The research company doesn’t foresee any resurrection for RIM and believes that the “delay with its BlackBerry 10 platform will further impair its ability to retain users”.

An incredibly strong fourth quarter by Apple, in which Gartner claims the company sold 35.5-million iPhones (Apple’s financial report put the number closer to 37-million) was instrumental in the company overtaking LG as the third biggest mobile phone manufacturer in the world.

According to Gartner the Cupertino-based tech giant also became the world’s top smartphone vendor, with a market share of 23.8% in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the top smartphone vendor for 2011 as a whole, with a 19% market share.

Gartner predicts that this growth will only increase as the iPhone 4S becomes more widely available.

Although Nokia remains the biggest device manufacturer in the world, its market share continues to decline, going from just under 29% in 2010, to around 24% in 2011. Samsung meanwhile consolidated its position as the world’s second biggest manufacturer, making a dent in Nokia’s lead.

According to Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza, the Korean tech giant “profited from strong smartphone sales of 34 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011”.

She says, however, that Nokia’s may be able to overcome the challenges it faced in the final quarter of 2011:

The troubled economic environment in Europe and Nokia’s weakened brand status posed challenges that were hard to overcome in just one quarter. However, Nokia proved its ability to execute and deliver on time with its new Lumia 710 and 800 handsets. Nokia will have to continue to offer aggressive prices to encourage communications service providers (CSPs) to add its products to portfolios currently dominated by Android-based devices.”

Samsung’s growth and Apple’s now dominant position illustrate how important smartphones became in 2011. In fact, Gartner reckons that smartphones now account for 31% of all mobile devices sales, up 58% from 2010.



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