Research Firm: Android Will Eat Into Apple, RIM Smartphone Marketshare in 2010

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Research firm Canalys released a research report last Thursday that predicts Google’s Android platform will gain significant market share against #1 Research in Motion (RIM) and #2 Apple in 2010, with unit sales growth of 169% year-over-year.

Outpacing the market as a whole, that growth will be enough for the company to move into the #3 spot (ahead of Microsoft) with 12.3% of the market, as seen in the chart below. RIM’s BlackBerry will see an increase of 20.5% in unit sales, but with the market as a whole growing at 37.9%, RIM will see its share dominant share decrease from 49.2% in 2009 to 43% if Canalys’s predictions prove accurate.

Apple’s iPhone platform will see an increase of 27.1% in unit sales, also below the market as a whole, which will leave Apple with 21.3% of the market. When Apple introduced the iPhone, CEO Steve Jobs said his company’s goal was to have 10% of the smartphone market.

Apple quickly surpassed that goal to almost immediately become the #2 smartphone vendor, with the iPhone, Apple’s only smartphone product, often claiming the top spot for best selling device (Google, RIM, and other smartphone vendors have multiple devices that combine in aggregate to compete with Apple’s iPhone).

“With new devices from HTC, Samsung, Motorola and LG, among others, [Google’s Android sales] will grow in 2010 by 169% to more than 12.3 million units, with considerable growth expected for several years ahead,” he research firm wrote in its announcement. “21.7 million Android smart phones are expected to ship in North America in 2013.”

The firm also said that the smartphone market is beginning to shift away from high-end flagship devices to cheaper, lower-end devices as more handset makers seek to expand the smartphone market by bringing in more, less expensive Android devices to market, which will help fuel the growth of the platform.

Microsoft’s Windows mobile platform is expected to remain flat year over year at 4.7 million units, which will allow Google to slip past the company. Microsoft’s share is expected to slip from 10.1% to 7.2%.

“Windows Phone 7 Series represents a major improvement to the platform that was badly needed from Microsoft,” Chris Jones, Canalys VP and Principal Analyst for Canalys said in a statement. “However, the delay between announcement and expected commercial availability in Q4 2009 will make this year a tough one. It will impact shipment volumes in the second and third quarters, as no vendor or carrier will want a warehouse full of Windows Phone 6.5 devices come the launch of 7.”

Canalys Chart

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The firm also said that the smartphone market is beginning to shift away from high-end flagship devices to cheaper, lower-end devices as more handset makers seek to expand the smartphone market by bringing in more, less expensive Android devices to market, which will help fuel the growth of the platform.

Yeah, let’s look how well that turned out for the computer industry. Dell nearly Walmarted themselves out of existence with the bottom of the barrel pricing versus the higher end Apple Macintosh. Apple is now the 4th largest company in the US with a stock trading at approximately $210. Dell is floundering with a stock price than consistently hovers at $14.

Google’s stock price is based NOT on their smartphones, but rather their other enterprises. So it still remains to be seen if they can actually make inroads with their smartphones or not. The forecast of 12.3 million could be way off the mark too. That 169.2% growth may falter significantly.


Overall it seems likely. Android is going to capture a big chunk of the bottom end smartphone market. IMO I think it’ll hit Microsoft heavily and he didn’t take Palm’s upcoming implosion into account. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either or even both of them fall off a cliff this year.


Is it just me, or does the general gist of this data already seem pretty obvious, since it is just a continuation of the current situation?

Then again, once the Apple vs. HTC suit starts in earnest (which I don’t think is scheduled to happen until 2012), the trend may seriously change. If Apple can successfully show that it’s patents, then it may become considerably tougher for HTC, Motorola, and others to keep making phones that include multi-touch and/or other touch-screen capabilities similar to those of the iPhone. Of course, there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in there, so we’ll see.

One other factor that I don’t think a most people have taken into account, yet, is a sort of reverse-halo effect that the iPad may drive.

Many of the pundits have initially written off the iPad as a yawner, asking how it different than an iPod touch, except for being larger, and predicting it to have lackluster success - especially compared to the iPhone.  Despite all that hot air, according to some well-research reports, Apple has already taken hundreds of thousands of pre-orders and reservations for the iPad even despite the fact that only a very select few people have laid eyes on anything more than online pictures of it, let alone actually handling one! (When will the pundits ever learn?) Based on that, I think that the iPad will become a virally popular product on a level that even the iPhone has not seen.

That’s where the reverse-halo effect comes in. If droves of people get hooked and buy an iPad, it may drive even greater sales rates for the iPhone. Something to consider: If you do own an iPad, there are going to be times where bringing it along with you and/or using it won’t be practical. If you can have a phone that runs the same apps (maybe smaller versions) as your next-gen portable computer (which is really what the iPad really is) that could be a big motivator to buy that phone.

There are a couple more important factors to consider, in predicting who gets to be the long-term king of the hill of touch-screen phones:

1) Who (if anybody) will ‘knock it out of the park) with one or more whiz-bang feature that the other companies can’t match.

2) What will happen, in a couple of years, when virtually all of the cell phone US carriers are using the same LTA 4G network technology? The biggest issue that is limiting iPhone sales numbers, is the fact that (in the US) Apple is stuck with AT&T, unless they want to engineer a CDMA version of the iPhone, deal with Verizon’s insistence to have primary control over phone deals, and try to explain to VZ customers why their iPhones can’t operate as both a cell phone and a web-capable device at the same time. Once everybody has access to LTA networks, iPhones will become available to a lot more people, and will no longer be under the dark cloud of AT&T’s 3G network.


This analyst is an idiot.  He only shows 1 year and three months worth of data and we are suppose to believe that android is going to all of a sudden have a 169% y-o-y growth?  What the hell is that guy smoking?  Where is his proof?


More importantly, what the hell is LTA networks?

I know Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks and WiMAX networks, and HSDPA networks, and UMTS networks, but what is a LTA network. And exacly whose gonna roll it out in the US?

Verizon is going LTE, AT&T as well. Sprint is WiMAX right now (the only 4G network live), as for T-mobile either they’re staying at 3.5G, buying Sprint, rolling out LTE in 2011 or merging with ClearWIRE (which is 51% owned by Sprint) depending on the rumour of the week.


Sorry. I got the acronym mixed up, and this isn’t the first time. I was actually referring to LTE, when I wrote LTA. Honestly, I had never bothered to find out what LTE stood for, which is why I didn’t remember it well.

Regarding WiMAX: Even tho they are the first US carrier to start rolling out a ‘4G’ network, Sprint has proven itself to be an also-ran with poor decision making abilities. Also, I was hearing about the wonders of WiMax, and how it was going to revolutionize all wireless, at least ten years ago. So, I don’t have a lot of faith in WiMAX becoming a dominant technology in the market.

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