May 12, 2009

Support Grows For Google’s Android

With 8 million Android phones to be sold in 2009, a 10-fold increase from a year ago, Google's Android operating system is making waves in the mobile industry, research firm Strategy Analytics said on Monday.

According to Reuters, the handset market has decreased significantly due to the widespread stall in global economies, forcing a shift in the mobile industry to a targeted focus on more advanced smartphones and their software.   

First launched into the United States market in 2008, Google's Android is now accepted by all leading cell phone vendors with the exception of Nokia.  "Android is now in a good position to become a top-tier player in smartphones over the next two to three years," said Neil Mawston, a director at Strategy Analytics.

Android's relatively inexpensive licensing model, its semi-open-source structure and Google's support for services, make it an attractive alternative to vendors and operators like T-Mobile and Vodafone, Mawston said. 

Even with the 10-fold growth expectation for 2009 and 8 million phones sold, Android falls far behind market leader Symbian, and Research in Motion, Microsoft or Apple. 

The smartphone market, on average, is anticipated to increase 10-20 percent this year from 152 million phones sold last year. 

Approximately half of these used Symbian operating system, while RIM sold 2.5 million, Microsoft 20 million and Apple 13.7 million phones, Strategy Analytics said. 

Last year, Nokia bought out other shareholders of Symbian and donated all its software to an independent foundation, which now produces it on an open-source basis. 

Symbian software is exclusively used by Nokia in its smartphones, and is additionally the key platform for Sony Ericsson, but has publicized it will also utilize Windows and Android as complementary offerings. 


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