Western Europe catches the Android bug

Research from IDC shows shipments of Android phones grew by more than 1,500 per cent in just a year.

Android

Google's mobile operating system has made a massive impact over the past year, with shipments of Android-based phones rising by more than 1,500 per cent.

The increase, as outlined in research by analyst firm IDC, meant 7.9 million handsets were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2010 up from 470,000 unit in the same period in 2009.

In addition to the rise in Android-based shipments, things were looking up for the smartphone market as a whole, according to the research.

High-end handset shipments were up by 99.4 per cent year-on-year, totaling 25.6 million units and accounting for 44 per cent of all shipments made during the period.

Against the backdrop of the high-end phone boom, feature phones suffered. Just 33.1 million units were shipped in the most recent quarter - a 24 per cent drop compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

"The Western European mobile phone market will be dominated by smartphones, and Android will be the king of the hill," said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager at IDC.

He predicted the Android mobile OS would rise at a compound annual growth rate of 37 per cent between 2010 and 2015 and overtake both the average growth of the market and that of its nearest competitor including Apple's iOS.

"The recent alliance announced between Nokia and Microsoft will create opportunities for other operating systems to exploit the transition period between Symbian and Windows Phone 7," added Jeronimo.

"Android and iOS will fiercely compete to attract all current Symbian users as they will need to migrate to another platform in the future."

Despite a drop in market share of 11 per cent, Nokia still ruled the roost, accounting for 33 per cent of all shipments. Samsung took second place with 27 per cent but Apple remained in third, despite a 66 per cent growth in shipments year-on-year.

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