Canalys: Android becomes the world’s leading smartphone OS

January 31, 2011, 2:16 PM UTC

Not even two and a half years after it was introduced and a mere 16 months after Verizon’s Droid made it a favorite, Android is now the world’s leading smartphone OS.

Canalysis released their report this morning called Google’s (GOOG) Android becomes the world’s leading smart phone platform thereby signaling the most incredible ascent of any technology I can remember in history.  More importantly, Android is leading the charge to put smartphones, web-enabled handsets, into the whole word’s hands.  Both Gartner and IDC as recently as September didn’t see this happening until 2014.

The numbers are pretty nuts.  According to Canalys, Android was on over 33 million phones world wide.  The previous market leader, Nokia’s (NOK) Symbian, was on 31 million.  To put that in perspective, Android is now selling over 2x times Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and RIM’s (RIMM) Blackberry.

The scary thing is that Android’s prospects are just looking better and better.  While, CES this year highlighted some amazing new dual-core Superphones, most of Android’s growth (and smartphone growth overall) will be on the low end, a place where Google is uniquely qualified to do well.

Engadget said of the news,

One day somebody will write a book called “The rise and rise of Android” and this moment will be highlighted in bold.

(update for commenters who are defending Apple every which way): I think there are two different stories here. Google isn’t interested in OS sales, they are interested in having their OS on as many phones as possible so that they can continue to dominate online advertising (which seems to be working well). Apple’s entirely different model takes the profit on the sale of the device (with carrier subsidy). With Apple’s monstrous margins, they cut themselves out of the lower half to 3/4ers of the market by choice but make monstrous profits on the back of people who are willing to pay higher prices.