Canalys: Verizon iPhone will cause dramatic shift in smartphone landscape

Verizon iPhone 4Canalys today published its final Q4 2010 global country-level smartphone market data. Shipments of Android-based smartphones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. The fourth quarter also saw the worldwide smartphone market continue to soar, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89%. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over 2009 (see table below).

In Q4 2010, volumes of Google OS-based smart phones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments.

“2010 has been a fantastic year for the smart phone market. After a difficult 2009, the speed with which the market has recovered has required real commitment and innovation from vendors and they have risen to the challenge,” said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones in the press release. “But vendors cannot afford to be complacent. 2011 is set to be a highly competitive year with vendors looking to use new technology, such as dual-core processors, NFC and 3D displays, to differentiate their products and maintain value.”

At a regional level, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained the largest market, with shipments totalling 38.8 million and a year-on-year growth rate of 90%. Nokia continued to lead in EMEA and Asia Pacific, but in 2010 it was overtaken by RIM in Latin America, which shipped over a million more units than Nokia in Q4 2010. The vendor was particularly helped by its mid-range smartphones, as defined by Canalys, such as its Curve family of devices.

The United States continued its reign as the largest country market in terms of shipments, at more than double the size of the Chinese smartphone market. “The US landscape will shift dramatically this coming year, as a result of the Verizon-Apple agreement,” said Canalys Analyst Tim Shepherd in the press release.

MacDailyNews Take: Throw your derivative selves a party, Google. It’s all downhill from here.


  1. Lumping Android, OMS and Tapas together is like lumping all the free variants of UNIX together, e.g., FreeBSD and Linux. It makes no sense. OMS is a highly customized variant of Android and is so un-Android like as to be a different OS.

  2. Wow.

    For all those Android sales, I hardly see any out in the wild. When it comes to smart phones, it is something like 80% iPhone in Portland, OR, with Blackberry more prevalent than Android.

    Then again, ATTs signal strength is pretty strong here, with few dropped calls.

  3. Meaningless! I saw a report via Yahoo Finance that some cheap Chinese unknown was responsible for 18 million of those Android phones which means probably only a quarter — if that — of those Android sales are actually high-end (a.k.a. profitable) devices. (And that’s only for the moment: with iPhone on Verizon, there’ll soon be nowhere to market those ‘droids.)

    The danger is that U.S. investors and developers only see the “Android #1 worldwide” headline and assume that Google’s catching up with Apple when the reality is that just like Apple’s got 90% of the over $1,000-PC market, Apple’s got a huge majority in the high-end cell phone market.

  4. Note how the market share numbers in the chart are based on shipments. Not sales to actual customers.

    Hopefully we’ve all now learned, thanks to Microsoft and Samsung, how useless the “shipped” numbers really are in counting market share.

  5. “The United States continued its reign as the largest country market in terms of shipments, at more than double the size of the Chinese smartphone market.”

    A highlight for those who, during an earlier discussion, couldn’t see why Nokia’s decades-long neglect of the US market is now proving to be so painful for them.

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