Android increases smartphone market leadership

In the first quarter of 2011, Android led the market for the second quarter running with 35.7 million units shipped, increasing its share to 35%.

At the same time, Asia-Pacific (APAC) became the largest smartphone market region, with year on year growth of 98%, to 37.3 million units, putting it ahead of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the first time since the third quarter 2007, according to the latest research from Canalys.

On a country basis, mainland China, South Korea and India delivered strong volumes and registered triple-digit growth in the first quarter of the year, Canalys said.

Overall, worldwide smartphone shipments grew 83% to 101.0 million units in the first quarter.

Though Nokia’s marketshare shrank from 39% in the same period last year, to 24% in the first quarter of 2011, Nokia held onto its worldwide leadership position with 24.2 million units shipped. This is a 13% year on year rise for Nokia, despite the current realignment of its platform strategy, staying ahead of RIM in EMEA and Apple in APAC. APAC became the largest region for Nokia, accounting for 53% of its overall shipments, overtaking EMEA by more than three million units.

“Nokia is under considerable strain in the smart phone market as it transitions strategy, platforms and people,” said Canalys principal analyst, Pete Cunningham. “Its worldwide reach, however, should never be underestimated. Canalys’ country-level data shows that the vendor remains number one in 28 countries, including mainland China, where it grew 79% to 8.9 million units, thanks in part to Chinese New Year shipments.”

At a platform level, Android’s continued dominance was boosted by good performances by a number of key vendors. “HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson drove Android shipments in the first quarter, with each vendor shipping well over three million devices,” said Cunningham. “Samsung also shipped nearly 3.5 million bada operating system-based smart phones, outperforming total shipments of Windows Phone devices by more than a million units.