Smartphone sales 2010 — OSs

After discussing vendor sales market shares last week we’ll turn to operating systems today. They are more important to developers than device vendors, since the OS dictates which browsers can run on the device.

Nobody will be particularly surprised to hear that Android is 2010’s big winner, with iOS and newcomers bada and Windows Phone 7 winning modest amounts of market share. The losers are Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and the other OSs.

Sources

Most stats come from Tomi Ahonen, more specifically these articles:

  1. Full year 2009 (with 2008 comparison)
  2. Q1 2010
  3. Q2 2010
  4. Q3 2010
  5. Q4 2010 and full year 2010.

In addition I found the 2007 OS sales according to Gartner and used them for a few tables.

OSs by year — market share

We’ll start with market share. 2010 little resembles 2007, and the biggest feature the two years share, Symbian, is about to be downsized.

Yearly smartphone OS market share
OS 2010 share ch 2009 share ch 2008 share ch 2007 share
Symbian 38% -8 46% -8 54% -10 64%
Android 22% +18 4% +3 1% +1 -
BlackBerry 16% -5 21% +5 16% +6 10%
iOS 16% +2 14% +7 7% +4 3%
Windows Mobile 4% -2 6% -6 12% 0 12%
bada 2% +2 - - - - -
Windows Phone 7 1% +1 - - - - -
Others 1% -8 9% -1 10% -1 11%
Volatility 23% 15% 11%

Android is expected to pass Symbian in Q1 2011. However, in 2010 it started out quite small, while Nokia artificially inflated Symbian sales. Therefore Android is still distinctly smaller than Symbian in 2010 as a whole.

In 2010 the OS volatility is much higher (23%) than the vendor volatility (10%). In other words: vendors whose market share remains stable are switching to other OSs. And that’s of course exactly what went on during 2010.

All Android vendors used to make Windows Mobile devices, and Samsung, LG, and Sony Ericsson also Symbian devices. During 2010 Symbian was dumped, and Windows Mobile significantly downsized. All this market share went to Android, which subsequently grew enormously.

2010 also saw the downfall of the other operating systems, mostly LiMo (Linux Mobile; Japan and developed Asia), as well as Sony Ericsson’s Symbian UIQ, maybe a bit of PalmOS, and obscure, vendor-specific OSs.

OSs by year — absolute

Unfortunately Tomi did not publish absolute OS numbers for 2010, so I had to calculate them myself. The table assumes 300 million smartphones sold instead of 298 in order to keep the calculation simple. You may subtract two million from the OS you dislike most.

Estimate of yearly OS sales in millions
OS 2010 sales ch ch 2009 sales
Symbian 114 +43% +34 80
Android 66 +842% +59 7
BlackBerry 48 +30% +11 37
iOS 48 +92% +23 25
Windows Mobile 12 +8% +1 11
bada 6 +6 -
Windows Phone 7 3 +3 -
Others 3 -82% -14 17
Total 300 +71% +123 175

2010’s growth level was so stunning that even an obsolete OS headed for extinction, Windows Mobile, managed to post a gain over 2009.

And a historical overview of OS sales.

Historical OS sales in millions
OS 2010 sales ch 2009 sales ch 2008 sales ch 2007 sales
Symbian 114 +43% 80 +10% 73 -6% 78
Android 66 +842% 7 +600% 1 -
BlackBerry 48 +30% 37 +61% 23 +92% 12
iOS 48 +92% 25 +127% 11 +267% 3
Windows Mobile 12 +8% 11 -31% 16 +7% 15
bada 6 - - - - -
Windows Phone 7 3 - - - - -
Others 3 -82% 17 +13% 15 +7% 14
Total 300 +71% 175 +26% 139 +14% 122

OSs by quarter — market share

Here are the quarterly OSs figures. The big battle was fought in summer, when iOS and especially Android grew.

Quarterly OS sales market share (Q1 is my own guesstimate)
OS Q4 2010 ch Q3 2010 ch Q2 2010 ch Q1 2010
Symbian 32% -4 36% -8 44% -6 50%
Android 30% +5 25% +7 18% +9 9%
iOS 16% -2 18% +4 14% -3 17%
BlackBerry 14% -1 15% -3 18% -2 20%
bada 3% +1 2% +1 1% +1 -
Windows Mobile 2% -1 3% 0 3% +1 2%
Windows Phone 7 2% +2 - - - - -
Others 1% 0 1% -1 2% 0 2%
Volatility 8% 12% 11%

Q3 was easily the most volatile one, with Q4 being distinctly calmer. Earlier trends are continuing (except for iOS due to Apple’s unusual sales patterns we discussed in the first entry), but more moderately.

Although Android’s growth is remarkable, it should be noted that its rate of growth is slowly diminishing. Conversely, it’s possible than BlackBerry is ending its downward slope.

OS by quarter - absolute

Here are the absolute numbers for the four quarters. The Q1 figures are entirely my own guesstimate. Because the small OSs’ absolute numbers are so low, and because I round to the nearest million, I dumped bada and both Windows into an Others category.

Quarterly OS sales in millions (Q1 is my own guesstimate)
OS Q4 2010 ch Q3 2010 ch Q2 2010 ch Q1 2010
Symbian 31 +7% 29 +7% 27 0 27
Android 30 +50% 20 +81% 11 +120% 5
iOS 16 +14% 14 +75% 8 -11% 9
BlackBerry 14 +17% 12 +9% 11 0 11
Others 8 +60% 5 +25% 4 +100% 2
Total 99 +24% 80 +31% 61 +13% 54

Note the incredible rate of growth, especially for Q3. Also note that the other OSs don’t do badly at all, especially if you remember that Windows Mobile is on the way out. Its losses are offset by gains for bada and Windows Phone 7, however, and the other OSs are growing easily faster than the market as a whole.

Android split

In Q3 Tomi started to give vendor market shares within Android. This is important information for web developers because there are small but distinct differences between the various Android WebKit browsers modified by the vendors.

Quarterly Android sales market share (The Q3 LG and Others figures are my own guesstimates.)
Vendor Q4 2010 ch Q3 2010
HTC 30% -3 33%
Samsung 23% -8 31%
Sony Ericsson 17% +9 8%
Motorola 16% -2 18%
LG 10% +2 8%
Others 4% +2 2%
Volatility 13%

The traditional vendors lost some market share to relative newcomers Sony Ericsson and LG because those newcomers deployed their Android devices only late in the year.

Samsung’s share is dropping because it is shifting some of its efforts to bada. Sony Ericsson, surprisingly, is the big winner here: its Xperia range is making an impact. This is the first good news for Sony Ericsson in a long time. If the Android-based PlayStation Phone is a success, why, then it might join the big boys after all.

I will post the new numbers when Tomi releases Q1 stats, probably in late April or early May.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Atom RSS

I’m around at the following conferences:

(Data from Lanyrd)

Categories:

Monthlies: