The search giant’s mobile OS has toppled Symbian from its number one position. This reshuffle highlights the speed with whichGoogle has raced to the top of the smartphone market ahead of Apple’s rapid ascension.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, phonemakers sold 32.9 million Android-equipped phones globally, roughly seven times more than the year-earlier quarter, compared with Symbian’s sales of 31 million, according to research firm Canalys.
The numbers also highlight Google’s success in battling Apple, whose shipments of its popular iPhone increased to 16.2 million from 8.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Unlike Apple or Nokia, Google does not make its own phone hardware but instead offers its Android operating system free to other phone makers who can adapt it to suit their devices.
As a result, Android has become the standard software for many phone makers. US phone maker Motorola has even managed to stage a comeback of sorts by focusing solely on Android after years of heavy market share losses.
In fact, only Nokia, Apple and RIM have so far resisted using Android software, and some experts have suggested that Nokia will announce plans to introduce smartphone models using Android.