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Android growing at 900 percent clip, says study

May 11, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Strategy Analytics has published a study predicting 900 percent growth for Android in 2009, says eWEEK. In other Linux smartphone news, Palm is prepping an electromagnetic induction charger for its upcoming Pre phone, and Garmin's Nuvifone will slip to a second-half release, say industry reports.

(Click for larger view of the Android-based Samsung I7500)

According to the Strategy Analytics report, “Global Smartphone Vendor Market Share by Region: 2008,” Android will outpace the growth of the fast-growing Apple iPhone and RIM BlackBerry this year, writes Michelle Maisto in eWEEK. While sales of phones running the Android stack will grow at a 900 percent rate, the iPhone OS will grow at 79 percent in 2009, says the story.

The study pegs global smartphone shipments at 152 million units worldwide in 2008, representing over 20 percent growth annually in a year marked by a major recession. Asia Pacific continues its position as the largest market for smartphones, followed by North America and Western Europe, says the study. Symbian, meanwhile, is said to be the only major smartphone OS to lose market share last year, and RIM Blackberry is reported to have displaced Microsoft's Windows Mobile to become the second leading smartphone OS. No other details were available, however.

“The Android mobile operating system from Google gained early traction in the United States in the second half of 2008 and it is gradually spreading its presence into Europe and Asia during 2009,” writes Strategy Analytics analyst, Tom Kang.

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, stated that “Android's relatively low-cost licensing model, its semi-open-source structure and Google's support for cloud services have encouraged companies such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, T-Mobile, Vodafone and others to support the Android operating system.” It will take “two to three years,” however, before Android becomes a “top-tier” smartphone player, stated Mawston.

The study, which is said to break down smartphone market growth by region and operating system (OS), aligns in general terms with several other recent smartphone studies in projecting strong growth for the Google-sponsored, Linux-based Android stack. A similar study released by Strategy Analytics over a year ago reported that Linux, including Android, represented 15 percent of the smartphone market. At the time, the research firm expected that figure to grow considerably, but this year it did not publicly reveal its break-down of non-Android Linux sales.

Palm Pre
(Click for details)

Pre to get charged up with “Touchstone”

While Android continues to roll, at least one more major contender waits in the wings: the Palm Pre smartphone and its Linux-based WebOS operating system. Expected to debut in June, the phone will be sold with an optional wireless charger that uses electromagnetic induction, says an eWEEK story from Nathan Eddy. The “Touchstone” charging pad has appeared on Best Buy's internal inventory system, according to the story, and is listed for $70.

According to Eddy, users can simply lie the phone down on the pad, and the phone will be passively charged, without requiring cable connections. The Touchstone includes magnets that “align the user's phone in the correct position for charging,” he adds. The pad can also be used as an interactive tool, apparently. For example, users can set up the phone so that the speakerphone automatically turns on when the Pre is set on the Touchstone, and the Pre can automatically answer a call if the phone is removed from the dock, writes Eddy.

Garmin Nuvifone G60 delayed

A third contender for smartphone glory — the personal navigation device (PND) oriented Garmin-Asus G60 — has hit some snags, according to a Twice story. Reporting on a Garmin earnings call, the story says that Garmin president and COO Cliff Pemble revealed that the initial Linux-based version of the Nuvifone would ship in the second half of the year instead of June.

Garmin-Asus G60
(Click for details)

“Smartphones are complicated and bringing one to market that's built totally from the ground up on a custom Linux platform is not an easy task.” Pemble was quoted as saying. Pemble was said to have added that the company is in the testing phase of the certification process and that wireless carriers remain “very interested.”

According to the story, Garmin had originally planned to launch its first Nuvifone in the third quarter 2008. The phone wasn't officially announced until this February, however, at which point Garmin and its manufacturing partner Asus, announced that the Linux version would ship in the second quarter, while the Windows Mobile “M20” version would ship later in the year. The story did not mention whether the delays would also extend to M20.

In the earnings call, Garmin was said to have reported that North American PND sales were up for the first quarter by 20 percent. The company was also said to have revealed that Garmin's sales to its retailers were down five percent in units, compared to 1Q 2008, due to overstocking, said the story.


The Strategy Analytics smartphone report is available now for $7,000, says the company. More information may be found here. The eWEEK story on the report, should be here.

The eWEEK story on the Palm Pre Touchstone charger may be found here.

The Twice story on Garmin's Nuvifone delay should be here.

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