Market research firm Gartner released its Q3 2010 cell phone numbers on Wednesday and, to put it mildly, it’s an exciting time in the mobile space. Overall cell phone sales across the globe grew 35% compared to Q3 2009, and smartphone sales exploded — almost doubling numbers from the same quarter last year. Gartner’s report shows total smartphone sales of over 81 million units worldwide, which accounts for 19.3 percent of global cell phone sales in the quarter.
The shining star this quarter was Google’s Android operating system, which saw unbelievable growth compared to last year. Approximately 20.5 million Android devices were sold in the third quarter of 2010, accounting for 22.5% of the global smartphone market. In the same quarter last year, less than 1.5 million Android phones were sold, making up about 3.5% of the market. The increase in Android phone sales amounts to a staggering 1,440% swing, year over year. If there was any question that Android is well on its way to becoming the most popular smartphone OS in the world, the answer now seems fairly apparent.
On the flip side of the coin, Gartner’s numbers are rather unsettling for the world’s top cell phone manufacturer, Nokia. Gartner states that the Finnish giant lost 8.5% of the global cell phone market year over year, while Symbian, Nokia’s smartphone OS of choice, lost 8% of the market. Symbian smartphone sales were up almost 10 million units over the period, but the market is growing at a far more rapid pace. The figures also show iOS losing 0.4% of the smartphone market compared to Q3 2009, though sales nearly doubled from 7 million to 13.5 million units; and RIM lost 5.9% of the market, though sales climbed from 8.5 million units in Q3 2009 to 12 million units in Q3 2010. Microsoft’s old Windows Mobile platform — which is basically dead in the water at this point, having been replaced by Windows Phone 7 — crashed from 7.9% of the market in Q3 2009 to 2.8% of the market in Q3 2010.