In the final quarter of 2010, Google's Android operating system finally overtook Nokia's Symbian platform as the most popular smartphone platform. Previously, Nokia had reigned supreme since the birth of the industry 10 years ago.
Phone makers sold 32.9 million Android-powered smartphones last quarter according to research firm Canalys. This number represents significant growth for Android—in fact, the figure is nearly seven times greater than the number of Android handsets sold a year ago. According to Canalys, the overall smartphone market grew 89 percent from a year ago; a total of 101.2 million smartphones were sold in the final quarter of 2010.
Although Nokia's Symbian platform sold 31 million handsets in the final quarter of 2010, it wasn't enough to keep the manufacturer's No. 1 spot. The shift calls light to Nokia's continuing struggle to reassert itself in the smartphone market. Stephen Elop, Nokia's new chief executive who took office in September, plans to reveal a new strategy for Nokia on February 11. Elop hopes to reopen markets such as the U.S. and could possibly introduce new smartphone models that use Android.
Google's Android platform is certainly enjoying plenty of success. To date, the only major manufacturers who have resisted using Android in handsets are Nokia, Apple, and RIM. Samsung, HTC, LG, and others have hopped on the Android bandwagon.