The Android OS has continued to shake up the mobile world in terms of smartphone market share. According to research firm Gartner Android has now surpassed Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS in terms of global smartphone market share.
Android's share stood at 9.6 percent in the first quarter, up from 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Apple's iOS also grew, from 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 15.4 percent, but Android is now clearly increasing the pace of its momentum.
In a further sign of its growth North American operator AT&T has announced that it is launching the Samsung Captivate, its version of Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S. This will be AT&T's fourth smartphone running on Google's Android platform. Sony Ericsson has also unveiled its fourth smartphone based on Google's Android platform, the Xperia X8, and positioned it as a mass market alternative to its flagship X10 model. The company, which in the first quarter had its first quarterly profit since 2008, is back on the strength of its Android phones and its custom UX user interface.
So what has led to this a surge in Android phones? Openness, user customisation, longterm outlook, multiple OEMS and carrier partners, have all contributed to the growth of Android as an OS. Android’s openness isn't just limited to the core software platform: but is extended to a wide range of services and OEM device specifications. The latest release of Android (2.2 or more commonly known as Froyo) is now open sourced and starting to reach consumer devices. Froyo, bring a number of significant improvements including improved content discovery, as you’ll finally get a suggestion if you misspell an app name, substantial improvements in browser performance, both when launching and parsing content, and the inclusion of support for Flash 10.1. There are also new services supported by Froyo including support for Googles Simplify Media acquisition which will enable users to stream music from your home library and push apps from your desktop to the handset.
Following a slow start Android is now really hitting it’s stride with a wide range of OEMs supporting it, 10K+ new applications being launched every month, growing operator support and increasing market share gains. Wrap all of this inside Google’s massive marketing machine and it’s push in to new market segments such as Google TV and Tablets and you have very a true contender for the future smartphone market leader.