Canalys: Android global share rises to 16% of smartphones in Q1 [Updated]

According to Canalys:

Usual disclaimers apply:

  • Only sell-through (i.e. not exact numbers that companies report as sold, i.e. excluding inventory in the channel)
  • Other includes Symbian devices not sold by Nokia, Microsoft Windows Mobile and various Linux, WebOS
  • iOS includes only phones, no iPads, no iPod touch, similarly Android includes only phones
  • Some of these numbers are approximate as they are based on partial data (Canalys does not publish complete share data and some must be interpolated)

Data used to build charts:

Overall the market grew 64% last Q, with Apple maintaining share y/y even though transitioning to a new model and draining channel during several weeks.  Android continued to experience over 8x growth which is phenomenal. Share was taken mostly from incumbent Nokia (-7), Microsoft (-4) and RIM (-3), though bear in mind that the whole pie grew by nearly 70%.


Canalys OS share data has become available and I’ve updated the charts and table.

  • RattyUK

    Where is this going Horace? What do you think next quarter will look like? And the quarter after that?

    • The Android story is not surprising since we've known that every phone manufacturer rushed to build Android phones last year in response to the iPhone and the availability of a reasonably similar Android version. They did the same thing a few years ago when the Blackberry was first successful. They all came out with monoblock keyboard phones within a year (Motorola Q, Samsung Blackjack, Nokia E series, HTC Dash etc.) In fact, they all did this because operators called them and asked them to build Blackberry look-aline phones (I know this from experience).

      The difference this year is that all the Android devices are running more or less the same software.

      Operators are inviting (or commissioning) these devices and promoting them for the same reason they did so for the RIM clones: they don't want a single supplier to dominate. (Ask yourself why AT&T, which has a hugely valuable exclusive franchise, is commissioning and ranging Android *and* DOA Windows Phone 7 devices. You might also guess that Microsoft itself is still in the game because operators already assured them a portfolio slot.)

      Long term I expect four to five platforms to equalize in share over time. This is simply a consequence of the distribution model in phones today. I suspect Apple knows this which is why they are implementing a profit skimming strategy rather than a deep penetration strategy with the iPhone.

      • Your analysis is very detailed and thought-provoking. I have bookmarked your site and plan to visit frequently to get your insight on the Android smart phones, especially information on the Motorola Droid and Droid X. I hope you do turn this post into an article.

      • Stay tuned.

  • Why did you do this as 4 pies? its really hard to compare 4 pie charts.

    here's a line graph version with a space where the missing 3rd+4th quarters are.….

    • Chart choices are matters of taste so we'll avoid an argument here.

      The way these pie charts are meant to be read: read left to right for sequential change and up/down for year on year change. You might notice a pattern of share equalization this way.

      • Mark in MD

        Except that several of your Nokia and Other lines appear to be plain wrong as of August 4 AM…. looks like you are actually comparing year to year, not sequential quarters, as your image labels indicate.

      • This is the best data available at this time. Canalys did not publish any OS data in 1Q09 or 1Q10. Microsoft and Other are merged into one estimate "Other" for those quarters. You can look for Canalys data here:

        Remember that these data points are estimates even if/when the analyst publishes them. From personal experience I can tell you that their error margins can be as high as 20%.

    • JonathanU

      Your pie charts are far easier to read than that line graph…!

  • mike

    Ah, I see, iPhone4 not included.. it covers the time when people we waiting for the iPhone to come out..

    • That's right. iPhone only grew at 61% due to channel drain. Tim Cook explained on the earnings conference call that they stopped shipping the 3GS after the iPhone 4 was announced at WWDC. That left them with a few weeks of zero sales. Prior to that point, the product was selling at a rate equivalent to 90% growth. For this reason, expect this quarter's growth to be much more robust. However, realize also that that is largely independent of the growth in Android. Android is mostly competing with non-consumption and not iPhone. Android buyers are not choosing between it and an iPhone but between it and a dumb phone.

      • "Android is mostly competing with non-consumption and not iPhone. Android buyers are not choosing between it and an iPhone but between it and a dumb phone."

        Interesting point – what's your reasoning for arriving at that conclusion?

      • Most of Android sales are in the US (65%) while most (70%) of iPhone sales are outside the US. In the US, Android devices are mostly sold by non-AT&T carriers and in a previous analysis ( and… I showed that there is limited overlap between iPhone and Android distribution.

        The more telling data is that the smartphone market is growing at 64%, far faster than the regular market. iPhone is growing at roughly market rate (61%) and RIM is as well (45%). Nokia is sliding but not all that fast. That means that most new users must be first time buyers. There are many upgraders for iPhone and RIM but few for Android (and Android phone was very rare last year). So one can assume (though not prove) that Android usage is coming from new-to-smartphone users, i.e. non-consumption.

        Finally, and anecdotally, US operators are promoting Android to a mass market, one which has not been penetrated fully by smartphones.

      • Your final point about promotion is also true of the UK market, I think. Marketing for Android is very much aimed at people moving into the smartphone space for the first time, selling the overall benefits of smartphones (apps, web/facebook access) rather than the specifics of the phone.

        The one exception has been the Galaxy S, which has had a very clever series of ads focusing on its ability to get more bars of signal… I wonder who that's aimed at! 🙂

  • Eric

    Of course the Android is so new it's going to be growing faster than even the iPhone (at least before the real numbers come in for the iPhone 4, that flawed device which Apple can't seem to make enough of). We'll see in a year or two who's really on top.

    Blackberry can't get a break these days. Let's see if they cave to the fascist states in the Middle East which are planning to block them.

    • Right again. The iPhone also had enormous growth rates early on. Growth like 516% in Q308 and 644% in Q209.

      (RIM was also blocked in India and China for similar reasons and opened their data to govt. intercept as requested by local law.)

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  • JonathanU

    The main take away from the data that I can make out is that:

    1) Nokia is completely screwed. Their market share is dropping at a precipitious rate and quite frankly it must be scaring the crap out of their management (hence all the chat about trying to oust their current CEO).

    2) The negativity towards RIMM seems slightly over blown. In the past 6 quarters their market share has dropped from 21% to 18%. This is no doubt not great, but given how their share price has taken quite a beating, I think it might be over sold. A drop of 3% of market share, in what has become an immensely competitive market given Android etc., is not that bad at all. And considering the smartphone market is growing at approximately 64%, a rising tide will certainly still lift RIMM. Would I invest in them vs AAPL, not a chance. But is the furor over RIMM's declining market share over blown, I would have to say, probably.

    3) As you point out already, Android seems to be growing at the expense of Nokia – which would make sense given their phones compete almost exclusively with the offerings of Nokia (BlackBerry targets business users, iPhones target the luxury/high-end consumer market, Android and Nokia (and whoever else) duke it out for the remaining dumb phone users upgrading to a smartphone).

    Either way, interesting data and always nice to see a European perspective for once, as most of the data and analysis in the blogosphere seems to eminate from the US (and on AAPL always seems to revert to how crap AT&T is!).


    • Regarding Nokia, the crisis there is more than a lack of share. It's a deterioration of the core that's causing revolt:

      Regarding RIM, RIM has been indeed resilient but the methods by which they maintain share are suspicious (BOGO sales) and price reductions. Even if they are over-sold I don't see RIMM as a growth opportunity. Again, here watch gross margin for an indication of competitiveness.

      Android is competing with dumb phones as much as with the current platforms. Smartphone market shares are not a zero sum game. Think how many people are actually in a store looking at a Nokia, RIM, iPhone and Android device (never mind WinMo) at the same time and deciding among them (and nothing else). The sad fact is that many buyers are seeing only a limited choice. Verizon and China Mobile and DoCoMo and many other mega operators don't even offer the iPhone.

  • NormM

    Aside from not including iPhone4, these numbers also omit "non-phone" iOS devices. Since all the iOS4 devices support continuously connected background VOIP, and the iPad 3G will even do so over 3G starting next month, leaving out the "non-phone" devices is going to make less and less sense.

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  • m4rkus

    On the historical market shares: looking at the numbers for Nokia look a bit different. The trend remains but the numbers look less dramatic.

    • As I disclaim "Some of these numbers are approximate as they are based on partial data"…There are some discrepancies because the top table shows OS shares and the bottom table is derived from vendor shares. In the top table the line labeled "Nokia" should be "Symbian" whereas it should still be "Nokia" in the second. Curse Canalys for stopping the practice of reporting summary data.

      • m4rkus

        ok, then the major factor is the exclusion of the Japanese vendors using Symbian rather than anything else. Your disclaimer seems to hold a lot of power here is drives a false conclusion on Nokias part. As the Japanese vendors have been moved to "others" it would look like the "others" have taken quite a beating.

      • We might get more clarity when/if IDC and/or Gartner report.

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  • oj

    I wonder how many of the Android phones are "unofficial" versions. All the major OEM's have special agreements with Google. My understanding is that a large volume is being sold in China but they are just doing whatever the heck they like, outside of Google's control.

    • By definition, there is nothing "official" about Android. Anybody can modify it and have it be anything they want it to be. One hypothesis out there is that the Nexus One was Google's attempt at doing a canonical Android implementation that would become a de-facto reference design. That went nowhere. A similar thing happened with a Japanese version of Symbian. It was completely incompatible with any other version of Symbian but it showed up on market share charts as part of "Symbian" share. A platform cannot have positive network effects it it's not consistently addressable by third parties.

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  • nutiblogi

    what these pies are about?
    nokia is phonemaker, like RIM or Apple, at the same time in pies iOS and android.

    you must make your mind:
    1. makers: nokia-rim-apple-htc-motorola
    2. opsystems: symbian-BB OS-iPhone OS-android

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