Android smartphone shipments jump 379%

Android-based smartphone shipments increased by a staggering 379% (over a year ago) to 51.9 million units in Q2 2011.

According to Canalys, growth was bolstered by strong Android product performances from a number of vendors, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei.

Indeed, of the 56 countries the analyst firm tracks around the world, Android led in 35 of them – achieving an impressive global market share of 48%.

Meanwhile, with shipments of 20.3 million iPhones and a market share of 19%, iOS overtook Nokia’s Symbian platform during the quarter to claim second place worldwide.

In doing so, Apple also became the world’s leading individual smartphone vendor, stripping Nokia of its long-held leadership position.

“The iPhone has been a phenomenal success story for Apple and a watershed product for the market,” explained Canalys principal analyst Chris Jones.

“It’s an impressive success story, given that Apple has only been in the smartphone market for four years. With the next-generation iPhone anticipated in Q3, it’s likely that Apple’s position will grow even stronger in the second half of the year.”

Although Samsung managed to move ahead of Nokia with its flagship Galaxy S II, overall performance in the mobile sector was deemed “underwhelming” by Canalys, especially considering the opportunities offered by the upheaval at Nokia.

“Samsung has failed to fully capitalize on Nokia’s weakened state around the world, as the Finnish company rides out a challenging transitional period,” said Jones. 

“It’s the best placed vendor to grow at Nokia’s expense, taking advantage of its global scale and channel reach, but it hasn’t yet done enough to capitalize on this, particularly in emerging markets.”

Nevertheless, Samsung was ranked the largest Android device vendor and the number two vendor overall in the market with shipments of its own-branded devices at 17 million units. 

Its year-on-year growth of 421% was aided by significant growth of 355% in its bada smart phone shipments. Of course, Samsung also acts as an ODM for the Google Nexus S and T-Mobile Sidekick 4G – collectively estimated to have shipped 0.7 million units.

Jones also noted that Windows Phone OEM partner HTC saw Android driving the vast majority of its portfolio in recent months. Yet, Canalys expects the handset manufacturer to maintain its position as a leading provider of Windows Phone products.

“HTC achieved particular success in North America this quarter, climbing to a 21% share and consolidating its second place position, while Apple’s North American share dropped from 31% last quarter to 25% this quarter.”

Finally, Jones emphasized that while RIM had a challenging quarter in North America with its market share slipping to 12% – down from 33% just a year ago – the company’s global shipments grew 11% year on year, keeping it the number one vendor in Latin America with a 28% share.

“It’s easy to be negative about BlackBerry in the US, but it’s important to remember that in other markets, particularly emerging markets, it continues to see significant interest and uptake of its devices, for example in Indonesia and South Africa where it is the leading smart phone vendor.

“Nonetheless, it must continue to innovative and recapture lost momentum. It’s critical that the next-generation BlackBerry OS 7-based products launch ahead of the upcoming holiday season to compete in the market,” he added.