Are latest Android sales stats a whopper?


It appears there will be a global Android explosion this year if the latest forecasts are true, as worldwide Android-based smartphone shipments will grow 900 percent in 2009, according to research from Strategy Analytics.

Naturally, growth of that stature is easier to come by if you’re starting out from ground zero, which is the case with Google’s mobile open source platform. Though a few handsets just became available in Europe — the [Samsung I7500 ](/mobility/article.php/3817436/Samsung+Unveils+First+of+Three+Android+Phones.htm)and the [Android Magic HTC](/mobility/article.php/3817076/Android+Magic+for+Sale+in+UK.htm) in the UK — right now HTC’s T-Mobile G1 remains as the sole Android smartphone stateside.

Still, Strategy Analytics remains exuberant about Andorid. “We forecast global Android smartphone shipments to grow an impressive 900 percent annually during 2009. 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. Android is expanding from a low base and it is consequently outgrowing the iPhone OS from Apple, which we estimate will grow at a relatively lower 79 percent annually in 2009,” said Tom Kang, senior analyst at the company.

Meanwhile, the T-Mobile G1 just surpassed 1 million in sales, and it was launched in the fall of 2008. Given that some vendors, such as Motorola, aren’t expecting to have Android products out until the holiday shopping season, another nearly 6 million in sales of Android phones by December appears overly optimistic.

But Strategy Analytics isn’t the only industry watcher bullish on Android. David Chamberlain, principal analyst at In-Stat and author of the [report](/ec-news/article.php/3812436/Smartphone+App+Use+Set+to+Quadruple.htm), “The Apps Store is Born: Smartphones Enable New Marketing and Advertising Opportunities Worldwide,” came out in March with bold projections of his own.

While his report focused on app usage, it also touches on smartphone sales broken out by mobile operating system, and the numbers look good for those based on open-source. “When you look on a global basis, Apple is only a tiny part of the smartphone market,” said Chamberlain. “We didn’t break out Android separately, it’s with Linux and other open-source devices, but we’re predicting in five years that ultimately sales of Linux and Android will be double that of devices based on Apple’s OS.”

With a summer of signature product launches slated in the smartphone sector, it will be interesting to watch actual sales figures to see which devices and operating systems ultimately win the hearts and minds of consumers.

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