Google's Android operating system is now running on 48 percent of all smartphones on the planet, according to a report by Canalys that covers the second quarter of 2011.
Globally, the smartphone market grew 73 percent over last year, with in excess of 107.7 million units shipping in the second quarter of 2011, according to the report. Of the 56 countries Canalys tracks around the world, Android led in 35 of them.
Canalys reported that Android-based smartphone shipments were up 379 percent over a year ago to 51.9 million units, which it attributed to strong Android product performances from a number of vendors, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei.
The report bolstered last week's report from IDC that found Apple is now the largest smartphone OEM. With shipments of 20.3 million iPhones and a market share of 19 percent, iOS overtook Nokia's Symbian platform during the quarter to take second place worldwide.
'The iPhone has been a phenomenal success story for Apple and a watershed product for the market," said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones. "It's an impressive success story, given that Apple has only been in the smartphone market for four years. With the next-generation iPhone anticipated in Q3, it's likely that Apple's position will grow even stronger in the second half of the year."
Samsung also moved ahead of Nokia, with its flagship Galaxy S II product performing well, but its overall performance was underwhelming, considering the opportunities offered by the upheaval at Nokia.
"Samsung has failed to fully capitalize on Nokia's weakened state around the world, as the Finnish company rides out a challenging transitional period," Jones concludes. "It's the best placed vendor to grow at Nokia's expense, taking advantage of its global scale and channel reach, but it hasn't yet done enough to capitalize on this, particularly in emerging markets."
Samsung was the largest Android device vendor and the No. 2 vendor overall in the market with shipments of Samsung-branded devices at 17.0 million units. The company saw 421 percent growth over last year, which was helped by 355 percent growth in its bada smartphone shipments.
While Nokia maintained leadership in key emerging markets, Canalys pointed to a dissipation of demand for Symbian-based smartphones as an obvious reason for the company's slide.
Newcomer Microsoft is off to a slow start as it awaits Nokia's transition to Windows Phone 7. The company saw shipments of 1.5 million Microsoft-based smartphones during the second quarter, equating to a 1 percent share of the global market, down 52 percent against shipments a year ago.
Also in trouble is BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), which saw its market share slip to 12 percent, down from 33 percent a year ago. On the bright side, RIM's global shipments grew 11 percent year-on-year, keeping it the No. 1 vendor in Latin America with a 28 percent share.
"It's easy to be negative about BlackBerry in the U.S., but it's important to remember that in other markets, particularly emerging markets, it continues to see significant interest and uptake of its devices, for example in Indonesia and South Africa where it is the leading smartphone vendor," Jones said, stressing that it's critical that the next-generation BlackBerry OS 7-based products launch ahead of the upcoming holiday season to be competitive.