Google Inc’s Android dethroned Nokia’s Symbian as the global leader in smartphone software during the last quarter of 2010, ending a reign that began with the birth of the industry a decade ago. With 32.9 million handsets sold globally this last quarter, it has ousted longtime champion Nokia (with 31m) for the title of most popular smartphone OS maker in the world. The toppling of Nokia is no small event, but it is in synch with the fact that Nokia has for the last 5 years done little to excite users with its smartphone range. Nokia has been dragging its feet for literally, and even their newest projects show little promise or originality when compared to their competitors. Google and Apple have eaten Nokia’s cake, and while the latter can still rely on its dumb-phones for a steady source of income, that source is increasingly under threat from Android, and they’re running out of time to make a play for their former lofty position. Nokia is increasingly giving the impression that it no longer listens to its customers or is relying on a bunch of stubborn heads who still think that they will own the biggest chunk of market share in years to come. It has taken Android only 9 quarters to come from base zero to 33 million units.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, 33.3 million smartphones shipped with Android, up from just 4.7 million the year before. Nokia shipped 31 million smartphones, which is up from 23.9 million the year before. Apple is in third with 16.2 million, up from 8.7 million the year before.
The good news for Android does-not end there. With an aggressive push into feature phones, Android is ripe for spreading to the feature-phone market as well. It’s just a matter of time before Android is the default operating system. Nokia’s possible move to Android, which looks to be a move in desperation, is a silent acknowledgement of the fact that Nokia’s leadership is loosing its faith in its old war-horse, Symbian and perhaps the greatest recognition of Android’s strengths.