Android gobbles half of Q3 smartphone market

Android's rise continues, with the platform now running on over half of all smartphone sales in Q3 2011, and well ahead of iOS' 15-percent smartphone market share. Samsung grabbed smartphone vendor top-spot, according to Gartner's figures, while Apple shipped 17m iPhones – up 21-percent annually but down almost 3m units from Q2 2011, which the analyst firm puts down to iPhone 5 hype and anticipation – and saw its market share dip year-on-year.

"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM" Gartner

Symbian – classed as a smartphone OS in Gartner's stats, though Nokia continues to marginalize the platform in favor of Windows Phone – remains in second place with 16.9-percent market share; however, that's less than half what it was last year. Despite Microsoft's push with Windows Phone, meanwhile, it has a mere 1.5-percent of the smartphone market, down from 2.7-percent a year before. That's even counting Windows Mobile in among those figures, which is still loaded on some enterprise and vertical market devices.

In fact, Samsung's bada is ahead of Microsoft, with 2.2-percent of the market, doubling share from 2010. RIM slumped more than 4-points to 11-percent market share; earlier this week it was reported that developers are now more interested in creating apps for Windows Phone than they are for BlackBerry devices.

Despite the shuffling stats, smartphone segment growth overall slowed according to Gartner, now accounting for 26-percent of all mobile device sales (and up a mere point from Q2 2011). Apple is expected to stage a renewed assault on Android in the run up to the holidays, however, given the new iPhone 4S and the reduced-price iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS hitting more affordable entry-points.