Nielsen, Canalys Prove What Everyone Knows: Smartphones Are Hot

Carl Weinschenk
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Smartphones That Work for Business

Our Carl Weinschenk looks at the best mobile tech on the market today.

The numbers are up all across the smartphone sector. The rush -- not unexpected but impressive nonetheless -- is led by Android, which grew an astronomical 886 percent last quarter versus the second quarter in 2009, according to resarch firm Canalys.


Of course, much of this is because the numbers were relatively low to start. But that doesn't mean they should be dismissed as statistical noise.


Canalys said that Nokia enjoyed 41 percent growth, Research in Motion-which unveiled a new phone, the Torch 9800, today-also grew 41 percent against the year-ago quarter. Apple, led by the iPhone 4, was up 13 percent. Overall, Canalys said the smartphone market grew 64 percent during the second quarter. The leading vendors were RIM (32.1 percent marketshare), Apple (21.7 percent) and HTC (14.4 percent)


Nielsen told a story with a similar upbeat theme in research released this week. The company said smartphones accounted for 25 percent of the U.S. mobile market, 2 percent more than the first quarter-and fully 9 percent more than the year ago-quarter. The firm predicts that smartphones will represent the majority of phones by the end of next year. Think about it a second: The company is saying that smartphones' slice of the handset market will increase by at least 26 percent (to reach at least 51 percent) in a year-and-a-half.


Nielsen concurs about the strength of Android, and suggests that it is particularly strong among those who are buying their first smart device. A graphic covering the last five quarters shows RIM roughly steady, Apple growing almost in direct proportion to Windows Mobile's slippage, great growth by Android, and little strength from non-Android Linux and Symbian. The post offers a number of other helpful graphics that do a good job of presenting the current situation-and what is likely happening in the immediate future. (ZDNet posts on both pieces of research and offers Nielsen's explanation of why the two are different).


The strength of Android is illustrated in this eWEEK story on Motorola's results. The company has emphasized an Android strategy. That sounds like a wise move, considering that its smartphone numbers are up between the first and second quarter, while the total number of handsets is down.


[Motorola] managed to increase the number of smartphones it shipped worldwide. While in the first quarter Motorola launched six handsets running the Android operating system and saw shipment totals of 2.3 million smartphones and 8.5 million total handsets, during the second quarter its smartphone tally jumped to 2.7 million units, though total handset sales fell to 8.3 million units.


There are two ways to assess these numbers. The first is that dramatic numbers are likely when the base is low. The other is that smartphones in general, and Android in particular, are pretty quickly taking over.

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