For once the hype can be believed. Google’s mobile operating system, Android, shipped with more smart phones than any other manufacturer in the last quarter of 2010, beating Nokia, RIM and Apple, according to figures released yesterday by research firm Canalys.
We note that the Canalys figures include two variants of Android made for the Chinese market, Tapas and OMS, which leverage Google’s open source code. Global sales figures will continue to be driven by demand from the world largest economies, and China is already the #2 market for smart phones with 7 million units sold behind the USA with almost 15 million (Q2 2010 figures). What we don’t know however, is how much these Chinese variants contributed to the overall Android figures – but our guess is that they probably tipped the balance.
Its probably worth noting that these figures relate to new sales – and not to all smart phones currently in use. However given the relatively short lifecycle of mobile phones (people typically upgrade to a new phone every 1-2 years), come 2013, Android could well be the dominant operating systems for mobile phones. See these stats from StatCounter that show the global picture in mobile OS use according to their observations of web traffic.