Symbian Leads Global Smartphone OS Vendors

February 15, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Mobile Phone | Technology

Symbian was the most popular smartphone OS by shipment volume in 2009, according to research from technology market research firm Canalys.

Although Symbian’s share of the global smartphone market dropped from 52.4% in 2008 to 47.2% in 2009, Symbian’s shipment volume grew 4.8%, from 74.9 million units to 78.5 million units.


Android Has 4-Digit Growth
Although the Google Android OS only shipped 7.8 million units in 2009, this represented 1073.5% growth from 663,500 units in 2008. Global market share grew from 0.5% to 4.7%.

Microsoft Loses Ground
Microsoft, the third-most popular smartphone OS by global shipment volume in 2008, lost 26.4% of its volume in 2009, dropping from 19.9 million units to 14.7 million units. Market share declined from 13.9% to 8.8%, and Microsoft slipped to fourth place in smartphone global shipment volume.

Apple Gains Popularity
Apple, the fourth-most popular smartphone OS by global shipment volume in 2008, traded places with Microsoft to become third-most-popular in 2009. Apple OS shipped 25.1 million units globally last year, up 82.9% from 13.7 million units in 2008. Market share grew from 9.6% to 15.1%. Strong performance in the touchscreen smartphone segment (see below) fueled Apple’s growth.

Other OS Volume Findings

  • RIM retained its number two global shipment volume ranking while increasing its number of units shipped 46.6%, from 23.6 million to 34.5 million. RIM’s market share grew from 16.5% to 20.8%.
  • Other smartphone OS vendors lost 44.9% of their global shipment volume in 2009, dropping from 10.2 million units to 5.6 million units. Combined market share dropped from 7.2% to 3.4%.
  • Total global smartphone shipment volume increased 16.2% in 2009, from 143.1 million units to 166.3 million units.

Most Smartphones Have Touchscreens

For the first time in 2009, smartphones with touchscreens accounted for more than half of global shipment volume. A total of 75.8 million touchscreen smartphones shipped globally in 2009, 108.9% more than the 36.3 million units shipped globally in 2008. This also represents 55% of the 166.3 million smartphones shipped globally in 2009.


Apple Leads Touchscreen Market
Apple’s touchscreen smartphone market share dipped from 37.8% in 2008 to 33.1% in 2009. However, Apple’s shipment volume grew 82.9%, from 13.7 million to 25.1 million. All Apple smartphones feature touchscreen capabilities.

Nokia Touchscreens Have Explosive Growth
Nokia’s touchscreen smartphone shipment volume skyrocketed 4070.8%, from 536,210 units to 22.4 million units. Market share increased from 1.5% to 29.5%. Nokia was the leading vendor of touchscreen smartphones by shipment volume in Q4 2009, according to Canalysis.

Samsung Doubles Volume
Although Samsung’s touchscreen smartphone market share only grew from 6.3% to 6.4%, its shipment volume grew 111.4%, from 2.3 million to 4.8 million.

Other Touchscreen Findings

  • HTC increased shipment volume 6.3%, from 7.3 million units to 7.7 million units. However, HTC’s market share significantly dropped from 20% to 10.2%.
  • Other touchscreen vendors grew their combined shipment volume 26.7%, from 12.5 million units to 15.8 million units. Combined market share dropped from 34.4% to 20.9%.

Android Growth Benefits Motorola

Among current smartphone owners, usage of the Android OS increased 200%, from 1% to 4%, between September and December 2009, according to a December 2009 consumer survey by ChangeWave Research. In addition, among respondents planning to buy a new smartphone in the next 90 days, 21% would prefer to purchase a phone running Android. This is a 250% increase from the 6% of respondents expressing the same preference in September 2009.

Cellphone manufacturer Motorola saw its December 2009 popularity among consumers planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days rise even more dramatically than that of Android. While only 1% of respondents in this category said they planned to buy a Motorola phone in September 2009; that percentage jumped to 13% in December 2009. Motorola offers a version of the Droid smartphone, which runs on Android.

About the Data: Shipment estimates and research come from the Canalys Smart Phone Analysis and Consumer Mobility Analysis services.

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