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

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