Paced by Motorola's Droid devices, Samsung's Galaxy S line and HTC'S Desire, Incredible and Evo 4G, Android captured 22.7 percent of the market, up a whopping 888.8 percent from its 4 percent stake in 2009.
Market share for Nokia's Symbian platform plummeted 10 percentage points for the year, to 37.6 percent. Gartner noted that Symbian's market share dropped further in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 32.6 percent, or 32.6 million units, allowing Android to pass Symbian’s unit sales during the quarter.
Meanwhile, increased availability of Apple's iPhone 4 helped iOS hold a 16 percent stake in the smartphone market in Q4 2010. Microsoft saw market share of its Windows Mobile platform halved from 8.7 percent in 2009 to 4.2 percent in 2010. Smartphone sales to end-users were up 72.1 percent from 2009, accounting for 19 percent of total mobile-communications-device sales for the year.
Android benefitted from strong manufacturer support. As measured by device sales, Nokia's market share dropped from 36.4 percent to 28.9 percent year over year. Similarly, Nokia's Symbian lost smartphone OS share, falling to 37.6 percent from 46.9 percent.
Nokia sold 461 million handsets. Gartner reported a strong fourth quarter, with RIM sales strongest in UK, Netherlands and Indonesia. During fourth quarter, RIM's global handset market share fell to 13.7 percent from 19.5 percent a year earlier.
RIM also ranked fourth in smartphone OS sales, by both measures ahead of Apple. For the year, fifth-ranked Apple sold 46.6 million handsets, nudging its market share to 2.9 percent from 2.1 percent in 2009; growth was a strong 87.2 percent. As measured by smartphone operating systems, Apple had 15.7 percent market share, up from 14.4 percent a year earlier.
Surprisingly, Gartner identified Apple's Verizon distribution deal as being iPhone's greatest growth driver during 2011. Smartphones accounted for 19 percent of global handset sales, growing 72.1 percent year over year.