Android set to crush Nokia/Microsoft

The rise and rise of the Android smartphone

Smartphone shipments grew from 177 million in 2009 to 302 million in 2010, a remarkable 71 percent growth rate.

Meanwhile, handset OEMs' market shares have fluctuated widely: Nokia's dropped from 39 percent to 33 percent, even as the collective share held by manufacturers of Android smartphones increased from 4 percent to 24 percent.

"The market has been disrupted during a period of record growth," said ABI Research vice president Kevin Burden.

With the rise of Android, the number of handset OEMs with significant smartphone market share increased in 2010. This competitive landscape is forcing handset OEMs to consider their device and portfolio strategies carefully as they jockey for position.

Senior Analyst Michael Morgan elaborates: "Motorola has pinned its entire turnaround strategy on Android. As competitors flood the Android ecosystem, Motorola wants to become known as the OEM that brings Android devices to business.

"Meanwhile Samsung is hoping that it can convert its feature phone customers to smartphones, on the backs of both Bada and Android.

"And Nokia has now moved away from a purely proprietary OS strategy."

Nokia will adopt Microsoft's Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, the company announced earlier this month.

It appears that handset OEMs choosing Android have had success that is both driven by and limited to the reach of their distribution networks and operator partnerships.

"Unfortunately," Morgan says, "OEM-specific Android 'enhancements' have not yet created a clear differentiation in consumers' minds. Smartphone OEMs adopting Android as a key platform must produce meaningful innovation or risk losing significance."

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