Google powered Android phones and IPhone Unlocked Device are both starting to dominate the market share for smartphones. According to Gartner the combined worldwide market share for both operating systems reached 25% in the first quarter which is up 12% from the year before. The iPhone still has the bigger share at 15.4% (up 5 points) but Android is starting to catch up fast with 9.6% (up 8 points). All of the other smartphones lost relative share in the first quarter.
Android is now the fourth largest smartphone operating system surpassing Windows Mobile which now sits in 5th place. The iPhone is number 3 while RIM and Symbian are numbers 2 and 1 respectively on a worldwide basis. Although if you look at all mobile phone sales RIM is number 4 and the iPhone ranks 7th with just a 2.7% market share.
Android is rising faster than the iPhone in relative share but is still trailing in relative numbers. Gartner estimates that consumers bought about 8.4 million iPhones in the first quarter compared to 5.2 million Android phones. Both numbers are up considerably over last year’s first quarter as only 4.9 million iPhones were sold in that time frame along with 4.6 million Android units.
With the recent launch of Android 2.2 which supports Flash technology it is expected that the Android OS will continue its upward trend and close the market share gap with the IPhone even more in Q2. By having access to Flash Player 10.1 Android devices have a technology that Apple does not support possibly giving it the edge while competing for new customers. This technology will allow users to have a different and more enjoyable experience when using their Smartphones to surf the web. I will certainly not be surprised if the Android OS inches even closer to the iPhone in terms of worldwide market share.