Gartner is out with their first quarter 2011 mobile phone market survey. The results are astounding. The first quarter belonged to Google and everyone else was reduced to extras in an Android show. Both Apple and Google grew their respective share of the smartphone market, estimated at 100.8 million quarterly units – nearly double the 54.5 million units from the year-ago quarter. Smartphones grew 85 percent and cut into sales of regular handsets, accounting for almost one quarter (23.6 percent) of the 427.8 million handsets shipped during the first quarter.

Predictably, Android was the leading smartphone platform in the first quarter of 2011. And here comes your mind-boggling takeaway: More Android-powered smartphones were sold during the first quarter than the combined sales of Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerrys, Microsoft Windows Phone smartphones and vendors belonging to the Other OS category. And that is worldwide, mind you. Go ahead, do the math yourself (the below table).

It’s fascinating that Microsoft and Symbian combined had three percentage points lower market share than Android. Also, while Apple doubled iPhone sales,  they barely gained any marketshare. This just shows that Android is gobbling up market share at a rapid pace, eating pretty much everyone’s lunch in the process…

Android controlled a whopping 36 percent of the smartphone market in the first quarter of 2011. That’s an astounding growth from just 9.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Nokia is the biggest loser as Android smartphones collectively outsold Symbian-driven smartphones, 36.3 million versus 27.6 million. As a result, Symbian surrendered a significant portion of its market share and now has 27.4 percent of the smartphone market, way down from 44.2 percent a year earlier. The iOS platform had 16.8 percent share in the first quarter of 2011, a modest increase over 15.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. RIM’s downfall continues as the BlackBerry maker went from the 19.7 market share in Q1 2010 down to 12.9 percent market share in the first quarter of 2011. Microsoft was slaughtered from 6.8 percent to 3.6 percent market share based on an estimated quarterly sales of 1.6 million Windows Phone-driven smartphones.

In terms of total handset sales (smartphones plus feature phones plus dumb phones), things too look grim for everyone except Google and Apple. Apple’s global handset market share was 3.9 percent based on sales of 16.89 million iPhones, up from 2.3 percent a year earlier. California-based team beat Research In Motion (13 million units), now ranked fifth, and is well ahead of first-tier handset vendors Sony Ericsson (7.92 million units), Motorola (8.79 million units) and HTC (9.31 million units). Samsung (68.8 million handsets) and Nokia (107.56 million phones) lead as the world’s #2 and #1 cellphone vendors, respectively.

While Apple doubled iPhone sales from the year-ago quarter, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson stumbled. Apple is now chasing LG – which sold nearly 24 million handsets during the quarter – for the title of the #3 cellphone maker globally, which is no small feat knowing Apple avoids cheap dumbphones and only sell high-end devices.

(Cross-posted on


FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author