Canalys, an independent analytics firm, has disclosed that Android is now the highest selling mobile operating system in the world. According to its analysis, the total shipment of Android handsets jumped from 20.3 million units in Q3 to 32.9 million in Q4 2010. Contrary to what you might expect, Symbian, the previous leader in the smartphone segment, also saw an increase in the number of units shipped, and climbed from 29.9 million units to 31 million units. However, considering the rapid growth experienced by the entire smartphone industry, Nokia has little to brag about.
Besides Nokia, other players who have reason for disappointment are Research in Motion (RIM) and Microsoft. Windows Phone 7 arrived too late in the quarter to make its presence felt. On the other hand, RIM continued to struggle to compete against the accelerating onslaught of Android devices. Although mid-range devices like Curve helped RIM to overtake Nokia in Latin America, it ended up shipping less than 15 million handsets.
Apple ended up in the third spot with 16.2 million shipments, and posted healthy growth rates. The availability of iPhone on Verizon is expected to help Apple in closing the gap with Symbian. However, for the moment, Android simply looks insurmountable.