Google Inc’s Android software has become the world’s second-largest smartphone operating system (OS) thanks to the broad availability of high-end products from HTC Corp (宏達電), Samsung and Motorola, according to a recent statement by information technology research company Gartner Inc.
Sales of high-end smartphones, including HTC’s Desire range, Samsung’s Galaxy S and Motorola’s Droid series, pushed Android to the No. 2 spot in the fourth quarter and for the whole of last year, with 67.22 million units sold last year compared with 6.8 million in 2009, the statement said.
This helped Android clinch a 22.7 percent market share last year compared with 3.9 percent in 2009, while Research In Motion (RIM) fell to third place with a 16 percent share last year from 19.9 percent in 2009, according to the statement.
Nokia’s Symbian operating system still topped the list with a 37.6 percent market share, with Apple’s I operating system moving down to fourth with a 15.7 percent share and Microsoft’s Windows dropping to fifth with 4.2 percent.
The smartphone market remained concentrated in advanced markets such as Western Europe and North America, where buyers have more disposable income and networks are fast enough to support the full range of smartphone features, according to Gartner.
“With the Mobile World Congress 2011 taking place next week, we can expect smartphones and tablets to be center stage at the show,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner said in the statement last week.
She said a number of new application announcements such as 3D technology and improved user interfaces around touch, as well as faster networks based on wireless long-term evolution technology, are expected to be available on the new smartphones.
According to media reports, HTC, the world’s fifth-biggest smartphone maker, is set to unveil its Desire 2 smartphone with a mid-range price of between US$300 and US$400 during this week’s congress in Spain. The Taiwan-based company also plans to feature its first tablet computer, Flyer.
Meanwhile, Samsung is expected to launch its Android-based Galaxy S2 smartphone and the Galaxy Tab 2 tablet at the fair, which will be equipped with the company’s own dual-core processors.