Android Takes #2 Spot In Mobile OS Market

Each January, someone proclaims that finally, this year will be the Year of the Linux Desktop. Whether or not that ever comes true is a matter for another time, but what is certain is that 2010 is shaping up to be the Year of the Linux Phone.

It's no secret that Linux trails Windows and OSX on the desktop — Microsoft's stranglehold on the market in general and Apple's stranglehold on its hardware all but guarantee that the numbers won't change dramatically anytime soon.

The same is not true for the mobile market, however. Though both of those companies have mobile versions of their operating systems, neither has anything near a corner on the market — indeed, if anyone does, it's Nokia, owner of the now-Open Source Symbian platform.

When it comes to smartphone sales — the primary home of high-level mobile operating systems — Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS holds a strong lead, while Apple's iPhone has given it the runner-up position for much of the recent past. That was until Monday.

According to NPD — a research firm that tracks a number of consumer markets, including mobile phone sales, among other things — Apple's share of the mobile market is slipping this year, dropping into third place at 21%. Taking its place, just 8% behind RIM, is the darling of mobile Open Source: Android.

The numbers place Android's share of the market at 28%, giving mobile Linux — which also includes Maemo/Moblin/MeeGo and several others, for which data was not provided — more than a quarter of the smartphone market. Blackberry OS, for its part, holds a 36% share.

As NPD notes, Verizon has stepped up its efforts to match AT&T, giving both Android and Blackberry an extra push. Additionally, Apple faces a disadvantage in that the iPhone and iPod Touch are the only devices utilizing its iPhone OS, and are available exclusively from AT&T, while Android is available on two dozen or so devices across all four major U.S. carriers.

That Android's wider distribution would eventually place it ahead of Apple is little surprise. That it has overtaken the iPhone so quickly, however, is quite the achievement for a system in development less than three years, in open distribution only eighteen months, and which entered the market sixteen months after the iPhone began selling.

What it may do next — besides spreading to devices from netbooks to big screen TVs — we can only imagine.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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Part of the problem.

Anonymous's picture

"and Apple's stranglehold on its hardware all but guarantee that the numbers won't change dramatically anytime soon"

Whoah... hang oh a sec, what? I always thought that Linux inability to penetrate the consumer/desktop market was due to every hardware company (with the exception of apple) backing windows and not linux. It would be quite easy for a pc manufacturer to produce a model that is FULLY supported out of the box with either Win or Linux options, but they don't. Why do you think that is? Why do you think the most prominent sticker on most PC's is lauding the fact the hardware was designed and configured to run windows. Try and order any PC online and you will see the words 'xyz RECOMMENDS windows xyz'. The reason they 'recommend' is of course that the Redmond guys pay them to.
Apple have pretty much stood alone against this backdrop since the PC was invented (arguably by them). As far as I am aware they also 'encourage' the use of non-apple os (see bootcamp).
I've used Linux exclusively since the early days (I'm a solaris admin), but I've got to say that Linux 'fanboy' comments like this really infura
iate me, and in my opinion prevent Linux from been taken seriously on the desktop.
Apple are not the enemy, MS, Sony, Dell, HP, Samsung, etc, etc, etc, most definitely are.

Not a big Android fan.

Anonymous's picture

Even though it's much better then WinMo and even Apples mobile OS. I'm not a big fan of the direction in which Google is taking the OS. Personally I think MeeGo has much brighter future ahead of it, that is if Nokia and Intel won't screw things up along the way.

The new version of OS Android

Truemusicfan's picture

The new version of OS Android 4,5 times faster than previous. - Excellent that would capture an even greater piece of the market...
"As a result of measuring the performance test suite Linpack, it became clear that the updated operating system works in 4,5 times faster than the previous one, and 18.7 times faster than version 1.5. In the "race" was attended by two smartphone Google Nexus One (OS version 2.1 and 2.2) and HTC Hero (OS version 1.5). First place went to Nexus One with an updated operating system - its the result was an impressive 37.5 megaflops; in second place - Nexus One of Android 2.1 - 6,5-7 megaflops in third place - behind HTC Hero with exponent 2.009 megaflops. Not to be unfounded, we offer you the screenshots, courtesy of the site AndroidPolice."
Nice result :)

What makes me laugh over and over is...

Anonymous's picture

...the amount of people who bleat on about Google's new OS being the best thing ever and that Google will crush Microsoft. Personally I hope they do but I don't want Google to be my sole choice in the OS market. Yes Android is good for Linux and Microsoft has had it's own way for far to long but what we'll always need is choice, choice breeds innovation. Also, with great power comes great responsibility and I'm not sure Google is entirely trustworthy, I don't believe any profit based company can be.

Google Is The Ginat Who will Crush Micro$oft !!

Ammar's picture

Google Is The Ginat Who will Crush Micro$oft on the desktop!! Both owners are Linux users and PhD Holders. They play smart. Nokia, IBM, Siemens, Philips etc.... most of Tech companies are tired of Microsoft monopoly so they are supporting Linux. But Google is making OS irrelevant by moving application into the browser.

I can not wait to buy a device with Google Linux Chrome OS!