Google Android set for 900% growth

Shipments of mobile phones based on Google's Android software platform will grow 900%, but off a low base

Shipments of mobile phones based on Google's Android software platform will grow 900%, but off a low base, according to research from Strategy Analytics, a US market researcher.

Apple's iPhone OS will be the next fastest-growing smartphone operating system in 2009, with a 79% growth, it said.

In 2008 there were 152 million smartphones shipped worldwide, giving a 20+% growth rate. Asia Pacific led the market for smartphones but North America had beaten Western Europe into second place.

All other smartphone operating systems had taken market share from Symbian, formerly owned by Nokia, it said. Symbian was fighting back with an Apple-like apps store and financial encouragement for software developers to write for it. RIM Blackberry beat Microsoft Windows Mobile into second spot for smartphone operating systems.

Strategy Analytics senior analyst Tom Kang said Android gained early traction in the US in the second half of 2008 and is spreading into Europe and Asia. "Android is expanding from a low base and it is consequently outgrowing the iPhone."

Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston said Android had won support from operators, vendors and developers. "A relatively low-cost licensing model, its semi-open-source structure and Google's support for cloud services have encouraged companies such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, T Mobile, Vodafone and others to support it," he said. "Android is now in a good position to become a top-tier player in smartphones over the next two to three years."

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