iOS growth trend compared with Android

This smartphone battles continue, with Microsoft, RIM, Nokia and HP grabbing at a market led -- at least on a technology basis -- by Apple's iOS and Google's Android. So industry watchers may be interested to compare Apple's iOS growth trend with that of Android since launch.

I've been handed some data by Strategy Analytics. The analysis firm tracks smartphone sales and has provided data which shows the growth trends for Apple's iOS and Google's Android from the very first quarter of their respective launches.

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(Though iPhone figures were published recently, Strategy Analytics haven't yet published their Android numbers for Q3 2010, so these figures extend to Q2 2010).

As you can see, the news here is that both Apple and Android continue to see strong growth in a market that's so large it can sustain more growth on behalf of both parties.

Apple iOS:

Q2 2007 = 0.3M units shipped worldwide;

Q2 2010 = 8.4M / Growth = +2700% in 12 quarters.

Android:

Q4 2008 = 0.8M units shipped worldwide;

Q2 2010 = 11.0M / Growth = +1269% in 6 quarters.

(figures rounded up, provided today. Apple sold 14.1M iPhones in Q3 2010, Android figures not yet available)

To be fair, of course, you can see that Android launched with much stronger Q1 sales than iPhone achieved -- though it had the advantage of entering a segment of the market Apple has at that point spent over a year stimulating.

Also to be considered is the duration: Apple's growth is across 12 quarters while Android's shows just six.

There's another interesting take-away here: now that the introduction of the iPhone on Verizon's network appears certain, some investors are voting with their wallets and selling off on Google stock, which declined slightly yesterday.

Why?

Despite the hype, they are concerned Android's fast growth may be impacted by the release of the iPhone on Verizon.

Investors are also digesting recent comments from Rodman Renshaw analyst, Ashok Kumar, who notes Motorola's Droid shipments to Verizon have slowed down, with the carrier said to have reduced its advance orders of Droid devices in advance of the iPhone launch.

They may also be pondering recent data which suggests Apple has a far bigger grip on consumer market mindshare than Android.

Smartphone sales are exploding, Strategy Analytics admits, noting global shipments of a record 77 million units in Q3 2010, for annual growth of 78 percent. As has been widely reported, Apple overtook RIM and closed the gap on Nokia to the smallest level since first entering the mobile market in 2007 in the period. Android meanwhile continues to make its own gains.

Hoever, manufacturers are now hitting a wall based on component supply.

"The surging volumes are placing heavy demands on component suppliers and moderate shortages of select components are emerging ahead of the Q4 holiday season," said Strategy Analytics analyst, Neil Mawston.

The firm warns that shortages in application processors and touchscreens are part of the challenge, as suppliers are still ramping up production after the recession of 2009. Smartphones are also facing stiff competition for components from another emerging sector -- tablets.

This suggests that in the Holiday Season, at least, the firms which can offer component suppliers the fullest and most profitable order books will gain significant advantage.

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