Posted by:Shyam Sundar October 13th, 2011

Google’s Android operating system (OS) for mobile devices has been a popular choice since its release. According to ComScore’s survey in US, ending August 2011, Android owns 43.7% of the smartphone market (a 15% rise from the last quarter), followed by Apple with 27.3%.

In European Union (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK), ComScore’s report on smartphone market shares shows Android (with 22.3%) in second place after Symbian (37.8%) and rising steadily. Apple is close in third position with a 20.3% share. What’s notable is that Symbian’s share has fallen from 2010 while Android’s has gone up almost 70%. According to Canalys’ final worldwide country-level Q2 2011 smart phone market estimates, Android was leading in 35 of the 56 countries surveyed. Android’s global market share was 48%. It was also the strongest growth driver, with Android-based handset shipments increasing 379% from last year. In comparison, iOS‘ share was 19%. However, Apple beat Nokia to the #1 spot of world’s leading individual smartphone vendor.

The proof of Android’s growth and popularity is overwhelming. When Google released Android in November, 2007 it was welcomed by developers, handset manufacturers, and chipset makers with open arms. The ability to customize the user experience and break out of the proprietary control of OS providers was both challenging and exalting.

The open standards OS received many criticisms initially but it made its presence felt in a big way. Though manufacturing companies were obligated to get a Google certification before using Android, they had complete access to its source code. In time, the platform matured and today it has surpassed the stalwarts of yesteryears – RIM, iOS, and Symbian.


Android has seen far greater success in the smartphone sector than tablets. The smartphones’ Android OS has been around a while the tablet version, Honeycomb, is the new kid on the block with many rough edges that need to be ironed out. In addition, Google has not released the Honeycomb source code for third party developers to work with, opting to wait for its next big release.

That would be Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), the Android version expected to end the fragmentation problems plaguing smartphones and tablets. ICS is expected to launch this fall. It’s release will surely boost Android tablet sales and make Google a strong contender on the growing platform. Up to now, the tablet market has more or less been dominated by Apple’s iOS.

According to an IDC report, Apple accounted for 68% of the global tablet market share in Q2 2011, owing to the record breaking sales of iPad 2. Android’s share came down from Q1, settling at 27%.

Ice Cream Sandwich is just what Google needs right now. The Android version will be huge step forward for Android-based tablets; and with the release of the source code, we can expect a surge in Android apps and software enhancements.

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