Apple, HTC and Research In Motion each performed well during the second quarter, which saw a 64 percent increase in worldwide smartphone shipments, according to an Aug. 2 report from Canalys. However it was Android, Google's open-source mobile operating system, that proved the true star of the quarter, posting growth of 886 percent.
And the growth for Android is set to continue, according to Canalys. Chris Jones, a Canalys principal analyst, says Android is gaining "impressive momentum" around the world.
"In the United States, for example, we have seen the largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, heavily promoting high-profile Android devices, such as the Droid by Motorola and the Droid Incredible by HTC," Jones said in a statement. "These products have been well received by the market, with consumers eager to download and engage with mobile applications and services, such as Internet browsing, social networking, games and navigation."
Other important growth areas for Android, reported Canalys, are South Korea and China - which has a smartphone market second only to the United States. During the second quarter, China's smartphone market saw shipments of 6.9 million units - 11 percent of the worldwide total. Over the course of a year, Android went from having no presence in China, to reaching nearly 475,000 units during the second quarter. Additionally, carrier China Mobile offers its own operating system, OMS, which is based on Android. During the quarter, a separate 174,000 smartphones running OMS were shipped.
"Given Google's substantial involvement in the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), that its relationship with the Chinese authorities appears to have improved recently, and that its operating license has been renewed, will help reduce concerns that tensions could have an impact on the potential for the OHA-based Android and OMS platforms in the country, particularly among vendors that have committed resources to producing Android devices for the Chinese market," said Canalys Senior Analyst TY Lau in a statement.
Symbian devices still overwhelmingly dominate the market in China, but Android is making good headway, said Lau. "Motorola and Samsung, as well as local vendors, such as Dopod, Lenovo and Huawei, are achieving promising volumes on the platform," he added, "and Android devices held a 7 percent share in China this quarter."
Offering still further exposure for Android, HTC, which has made Android-running devices a considerable portion of its portfolio, announced in July that it's about to begin offering smartphones in China under its own name, instead of just through partner Dopod.
During the quarter, Nokia boasted 76.9 percent of the China smartphone market. Well behind it, Motorola claimed 4.7 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 4.1 percent.
The U.S. smartphone market totaled 14.7 million devices during the quarter, with the majority - 32.1 percent - going to BlackBerry-maker RIM. Apple, despite "antennagate," claimed 21.7 percent market share, and 14.4 percent went to third-place HTC. Worldwide, Nokia again dominated, achieving 38 percent market share on shipments of a record-high 23.8 million smartphones during the quarter. Research In Motion saw worldwide shipments grow by 41 percent, for 18 percent market share, and Apple enjoyed 61 percent growth, for 13 percent of the worldwide market.
"Expect to see smartphones accounting for a growing proportion of the wider mobile phone market as they become increasingly affordable to more customers," Senior Analyst Pete Cunningham said in the statement. "By 2013, smartphones will grow to represent over 27 percent of shipments worldwide, with the proportion in some developed markets in Western Europe surpassing 60 percent and 48 percent in North America."