HELSINKI - Google's smartphone operating system Android has passed Nokia's Symbian and become the global smartphone market leader, market research company Canalys said.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, 32.9 million phones running Android were shipped compared to 31 million handsets running Symbian, according to Canalys.
Based on shipment figures, Google's percentage of the smartphone market share leapt from 8.7 per cent in 2009 to 32.5 per cent, while Nokia's shrank from 44 per cent to 30.6 per cent.
"But Nokia did retain its position as the leading global smartphone vendor, with a share of 28 per cent," the Canalys report added.
Nokia's smartphone market share has been undermined over the past two years by the stellar rise of Apple's iPhone, RIM's Blackberry and phones running Android such as those produced by Samsung and HTC.
According to Canalys, Apple's market share remained around the same, at 16 per cent at the end of 2010, while RIM came in fourth place with 14.4 per cent and Microsoft brought up the rear with 3.1 per cent.
The smartphone market itself grew by nearly 89 per cent in 2010, with 101.2 million handsets sold, said Canalys.
"2010 has been a fantastic year for the smart phone market... but vendors cannot afford to be complacent," said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones.
"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," he added, referring to near field communication payment systems.