Android now accounts for nearly half of every smartphone shipped- Why that can’t last.

| August 4, 2011 | 101 Replies

The IDC recently released their figures for smartphone shipments for Q2 2011 and it’s rather obvious that Nokia has had its lunch eaten without so much as putting up a fight. Apple, formerly the undisputed leader in terms of profits from their smartphone sales moved into the #1 spot with Samsung clinching the #2 spot. Both individual achievements are astonishing when looking at their previous years’ figures but it’s Samsung’s in particular that has been mind-blowing with 421% growth year-on-year coming at the expense of Nokia and RIM of course. The sort of growth Samsung has seen in the past year is nothing short of staggering but it should have been expected what with their very successful Galaxy line last year and their massive success in capturing the US market along with HTC.


The success of these two manufacturers (HTC and Samsung) is down to a single entity and it’s forays into the smartphone market, Google. Before the emergence of Android as a truly viable platform in 2009, HTC and Samsung were also rans in the smartphone  space, Samsung making forays into Symbian & Windows Mobile with little real success and HTC being almost a non-existent brand but manufacturing devices for carriers as an ODM; yet now these two are the premier brands in the Android space and by proxy the general smartphone market all thanks to Google.


How is it that these OEM’s have managed to release so many different devices, so quickly and iterate and improve upon the technologies in them in such a rapid fashion as to leave the others in the market, Palm, Nokia, RIM all gasping for air? A large part of that has to do with cost. Samsung, who were part of the Symbian foundation jumped ship as soon as they realized that for little actual developer input and monetary outlay they could get a fully functional OS, cloud, mapping and applications support which they wouldn’t need to maintain and a lack of hefty licensing fees that came with their Symbian and Windows Mobile forays. It was perfect for them. HTC, similarly realising the opportunity jumped on the bandwagon, hard and Google were only happy to have them and their enthusiasm for the budding platform. The cost savings to OEM’s meant they could increase the quality and quantity of their devices significantly while incurring no extra cost compared to other platforms.

It was a win for both parties, Google would gain a growing foothold in what seemed like a very profitable market and OEM’s would increase their margins. On top of all of this Google could go around blowing their trumpet about being an Open Source platform, the antithesis to Apple’s locked down and controlled experience. Android had variety, it was free, it was ‘cool’ and it certainly didn’t hurt that Android was growing into something “good” too.


Eventually there came trouble. In 2010 Android was growing in popularity and sales at a phenomenal pace, “halo” devices were being released by every manufacturer on what seemed like a 6 month cadence, performance and features went through the roof and as Google’s OS grew in ubiquity, so did the heaviness of their hand. The Skyhook debacle and the delays of a few Motorola devices and the GPS bugs that plagued the initial releases of the Galaxy S family in summer of 2010 are testament to that.  For reasons that Google provided and attempted to justify later as was seen in a series of emails between the Motorola CEO, Skyhook representatives and high level Google employees, using the Skyhook service for Geolocation on Android devices wouldn’t be allowed, even if it provided faster locks and lower power to do so because it interfered with Google’s ability to collect adequate location data. Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with trying to protect ones interests as far as your services and reputation are concerned but blocking the launch of a device because it uses a competitor’s services which just so happen to be rather good reeks of anticompetitive practice.

Legal documents pored over by Nilay Patel over at ThisIsMyNext (soon to be The Verge) paint an increasingly dark picture of the situation inside the making of Google-powered devices. In essence, in order to launch your device with Google applications and services, you have to receive certification of your  device and any modifications to Android from Google. Understandable to reduce fragmentation but the issue with Android certification is the fluidity of it all. The head honchos at Google can quite literally veto the release of any Android device on the grounds of refused certification. Whilst there are certainly clear guidelines involved, that degree of uncertainty allows Google to literally bludgeon and herd OEM’s to their whims. An untenable situation to say the least.


When you look at the recent legal fallout and  the success we’ve been seeing in these lawsuits, it’s growing abundantly clear that Android uses or used intellectual property belonging to other companies. The thing is, Google isn’t selling Android, it simply makes it available. Those that use Android, the OEM’s that have brought record profits and revenues to both themselves and Google alike have been held liable for all the legal fallout and financial burden associate with these lawsuits. Increases in the success of Android will only serve to worsen these issues. And if recent blog posts are to believed, Google is certainly concerned. If Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Motorola and a whole hosts of others who’re having their technologies and patents infringed and are suing or cross-licensing for a cut of every Android device shipped, when added to the cost of licensing Android applications, the costs of a “free” and “open” OS really outweigh other options.


This certainly opens the door for other projects such as WebOS, MeeGo and even Windows Phone as possibly cheaper and less legally questionable as Android. What do you think of recent developments around Android and how do you feel about intellectual property in the mobile landscape? Sound off below.



Editor’s Note: Android has recently been deemed the least open of mobile open source platforms, now let’s all act surprised.




This is my next



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

So you've read something I've written. yay!! As you already know, my name is Andre and I'm currently a student based in Atlanta. Much like Jay, I pretty much blog here in my free time. Follow me on twitter @andre1989 or contact me directly at Andre(at)mynokiablog(dot)com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.
  • Viipottaja

    Well, who would say “Do no Evil”? The evil incarnate him/her/itself of course! :-p

    Some claim Nokia could have gone Android and still put their Maps on their phones.. I somewhat suspect it would not have been quite that easy.

    • The comments Elop made about Android being “partly open” apply perfectly to the situation here and it’s probably why they opted not to go that route.

      • Enyibinakata

        More sore grapes from the BIG losers.

        Andre , are you bored of your ugly Windows phone already?, I thought so.

        Please stop the hate and focus on getting Nokia to change its foolish strategy.

        How anyone will choose Win phone over Maemo or Symbian baffles me.

        Sent from the very unique N900

        • KeiZka


          Where does this hate for WP7 really come from, I’ll never understand it…

          • I take it you got your hands on yours huh.

            The vitriol and hate it engenders baffles me too.

          • yasu

            Maybe because Symbian, Meego and ultimately Nokia seem to be sacrified for its sake, while it’s floundering on the market.

          • Sun Down

            Same. I don’t get the hate WP7 is getting.

            • gordonH

              read Yasu’s post … basically WP7 is being pushed for success at Nokia even if it means killing Symbian, QT and Meego.

              Oops and now it looks like WP7 “only route” might kill Nokia too.

              That is the reason 99% hate the NokWP strategy.

              • Jay Montano


              • Doug

                Not me. I hate it because they chose to go to WP which is a platform I find to be very limiting in terms of functionality and features compared to Symbian. I like Symbian a lot. In fact my only complaint is that there are ZERO applications for it that I want, in the USA. That’s why I would have preferred if they went to Android. The platform offers a very similar experience to Symbian and has all the applications I want.

        • ^^ This right here is why I didn’t post for near a month ^^

          I’m not bored with Windows Phone, in fact I quite like it.

          I don’t hate anything really and I’d use Android too if I damn well felt like it. I’ve recommended them to tons of people in the past because of their specific use case.

          If you have used Mango, and you’re not a power user, you’d understand fully well why someone would choose it over Maemo or Symbian.

          For more in depth, curious and tech-saavy people, the question would be why Nokia let Maemo die the way it did, a sentiment I fully and wholeheartedly agree with.

          • Elias

            Andre, you can’t just stop posting because of some assholes. Assholes will be assholes, especially over the internet. Personally I like your posts because it’s not the same “Nokia is great” or “Nokia will be great” or “N900 still rocks”. So, keep it up man. Oh and WP7 is inevitably coming to Nokia and Mango looks good, some people just have to deal with it.

    • oho

      Elop said that Google would not allow them to put thei mapping services and other things, that was the main reasong they went to Microsoft instead. They can put their maps, they are making their custom store built upon Wondows Marketplace, and much more.

      • Titanium

        But they can’t put Qt on WP7

  • I think that companies like Apple, Microsoft and etc. are simply too scared of Android growth, and instead of competing on merit, they use mafia style racketeer methods to get money from HTC and the like for their Android products. That’s why I don’t think Windows phone is a good thing to succeed. Not so much because of the platform, but because of Microsoft.

    Google made a post on the subject:

    And don’t assume that Meego, webOS and etc. are protected from these racketeers. The only reason they aren’t attacked yet, is because their market share is low.

    • Google is quite full of themselves tbh. If you don’t infringe patents you can’t be sued, plain and simple. If you do, then you work behind closed doors to secure licensing terms, EVERYONE has to do it. Nokia did it to Apple, Motorola does it to many people and vice versa, the issues here is that Google isn’t taking any sort of responsibility for it.

      In essence, they’ve more or less taken code and/or ideas, Put it up on the web and said have at it guys. They’re not legally responsible for what people do with it and due to the terms of the licenses that they acquired the software etc under, once they don’t sell it for money everything’s right as rain regarding their legal liability. Great for them, terrible for OEM’s

      • > If you don’t infringe patents you can’t be sued,
        > plain and simple.

        No. Patent system is so screwed up, that even if you don’t infringe anything, you still can be sued, just to make you scared to spend money on courts and lawyers, and to be forced to pay money to racketeering patent troll. (Almost anecdotal story about it: )

        > EVERYONE has to do it.
        Just because these laws are messed up, not because it’s supposed to be so, or because it’s really useful. Software patent system is totally useless for technology. It’s abused to promote monopolies and all sane technical experts agree that software patents are better be abolished altogether.

        See for overview of the software patents system deficiency in general.

        • If I patent software that efficiently decodes information from the radio and relays it to the rest of the device in a way that noone else has managed are you saying I shouldn’t be compensated for that?

          Now listen, the vagueness of the patent system is the issue, NOT the fact that it exists.

          If IBM weren’t concerned about infringing one or many of the other patents, they wouldn’t have settled. I beg of you, be objective here.

          • Practice shows, that the system is abused. Initial idea of patents (protecting and benefiting inventors, encouraging innovation) was turned upside down, causing roadblocks for technology progress. No way out from it, except disallowing application of patents to software altogether.

        • Titanium

          Fully agree. In principle it could seem made to protect the intellectual property but effectively it’s only burocracy made by lawyers for the lawyers. The worst thing is that this increase the cost of developing in America and Europe while China happily can’t care less saving on the already lower costs.

      • Let’s even look non further than problems of Meego community. There were issues with Linux Foundation being patents problems wary, which even caused the need to create a separate infrastructure:

      • Sorry, here is the beginning of that thread:

    • Viipottaja

      Heh.. see my comment just below.

    • Returns of Cod3rror

      Hey man , Just check the whole article in respones of that post on Engadget or somewhere else. Yo would know who is real evil of war.

      Its shit “elgooG”.

  • Viipottaja

    Oh, btw, MS responded to Google on their “Apple and MS are attacking us!” accusations.. turns out MS asked Google to participate in the Novell acquisition.. Oh snap! 😀

  • foo

    The major differences in OS’s are going to level in a very short time. Android is a mixture of iOS and Symbiam. iOS will come closer to what Symbian is, Symbian will come closer to what iOS is, WPx and Meego/Harmattan take good features here and there and will be at the same level with all the others OS’s in UX and features.

    iOS/iPhone was the last major innovation in UX, and there are no other like that in sight.

    The competion will move more to other areas of mobile phones, like harware where Nokia is still the king.

    The market isn’t healthy if something has too big market share, and eventually things will level out because of this.

    • oho

      I see that Harmattan is a good indication of innovation in UX and it’s nothing like other OSes.

      • foo

        It’s not as big of innovation as the touch screen UX was.

        I think also that Harmattan UX gives a competitive edge over other UX’s because it’s so damn fast, but overall it’s the same thing as Symbian/Android/Mango/iOS.

        • oho

          I don’t see it the same as Symbian/Android, it doesn’t have a homescreen with widgets..etc.
          I can’t see it like iOS it hase 3 homescreens and uses only touch gestures and a swipe to control and the multitasking is different.
          I can’t see it like Mango also, it doesn’t have live tiles, no hubs, not the same experience!

          Can’t see how you saw it the same as these :S

          • Titanium

            While a like N9 more than any other smartphone the innovations it introduce aren’t as disruptive as the well polished touch UX introduced by the first iPhone(I know that technically was invented by Nokia but it was Apple that has believed in it and offered to the market)

            Admittedly iPhone has changed the way we interact with phones. N9 improves it

            • oho

              Saying that doesn’t deny the fact that N9’s UX isn’t the same as iOS’s, right? 🙂

  • oho

    I totally agree with you there Andre, I think Google with their denial and their over-confidence will lead them to sink!

  • Harabgue

    Good piece Andre, another in a span of two days.

    Especially the open part has always bothered me. All the Android fans that kept on screaming that it’s open and iOS/WP/etc are closed etc. etc.

    Android isn’t open-source, at least not in the way that Linux is.

    Android will probably have some big legal battles ahead of it even when the Oracle thing is ruled in thier favor. Android was just created and there was little bother with legal issues it seems.

  • YouKnowYouFail

    Andre the WP7 fanboy is back. Too bad Android is shattering the iOS Symbian, WP7 sales combined atm. That’s why in your confused mind it won’t work. Because Microsoft doesn’t want it to work. Too bad it will. Also wake me up when WP7 sells more than 25 million handsets.(Too bad I won’t wake up EVER). Also not even Nokia die-hard fans will buy the crap Microsoft offers. Why do you think haters would buy it?

    • Your ineptitude worries me

      • YouKnowYouFail

        said the guy always answering in a 3-4 words sentence. go lick ballmer’s …. a little more.tell us in an article how it feels.(inb4 you get mad and delete my comment.)

        • Please understand that I’m not a Microsoft fanboy, thanks.

  • Shiamal Harkison

    Though patent battles aren’t exactly new either, we all know how long apple and nokia fought, though that didn’t cripple ios? Its unfortuneate that googles making some silly decisions, they’ve manages to move very fast to where they are,but unless they make some changes they may loose their top spot quite quickly! Will it go to Windows Phone though? With microsofts history of screwing companies over I tend to think otherwise. I agree with above thou, Meego will face this issue too once it becomes a big player..

  • Shiamal Harkison

    Google does have a point though, why not compete on merit? What are Microsoft and Apple so scared of? If they truely have better products as they claim, that have no reason to worry about the patents because ios and windows phone will ship more, bring in more revenue, take android market share and leave google with no business? Instead they going to use patents to make wp a cheaper option and force device manufacturers to use them to remain profitable? This whole patent thing just shows google is wrong but making a good product while msoft and apple don’t think they can compete on product alone.

    • oho

      Even if my product is better, why allow others to compete with me using my patents?!
      I as a company patented them to help me compete against others, so I should just leave them get and use them and not make a move?! I also spend money on developing these patents 🙂

      • Shiamal Harkison

        Point taken, though how many of those patents were actually developed by Msoft and Apple and how many were bought? While I’m all for being rewarded for using patents and using technology with permission, I’ve got to ask, is this patent war good for consumers? In my opinion , no! Why? Because its simply limiting our free choice, while their may be some better product out their we may be limited to certain choices due to patent licence costs. For me that’s bad, I want to be free to chose andoid ios symbian webos wp7 or meego because its what I like, not be limited to wp7 and ios because these two made the rest too expensive! I think its interesting, but none of this will benefit consumers in anyway.. And yes, I expect google to fight back.. They are part of a small number of players who can and will stand up to microsoft.. So I want to ssee things get intersting and hope we don’t end up in a noncompetitive market like it was before apple stirred things up with the iphone:)

      • The fact is, most of these patents are simply bogus and nonsense. But the effort and resources of going through courts to prove it is often too much for the likes of HTC and others. That’s what Microsoft relies on.

        • Shiamal Harkison

          And microsoft know that htc even with its growth can’t fight back..I mean really, patenting the pinch gesture? Nokia should patent edge to edge swipe! Hell why not patent double tap, long press etc.. Its just lame lol
          Lol btw, did anyone see, ELDAR reccomended the nokia E6 today?! Just shows.. Miracles do happen! Lol I’d love to see a poll, how many ppl think think the nokia X7 is pointless!

    • Harangue

      It’s about investments made in a certain patented technology.

      If everyone could freely use any type of invention without any (financial) repercusion than no one would be tempted to develop anything.

      Why spend your own money on R&D when someone else can do it for you and you can freely use their tech. So in a way patents are good, they protect your inventions and also spark the need to develop in others.

      However, the system is a bit flawed right now. Patents are granted for the most ridicilous things even without any working prototype of the to be patented tech. A change is needed there, however free availability of one’s patents to others isn’t the solution, that wouldn’t have the effect that is desired.

      • Shiamal Harkison

        Ofcoarse I agree, and we need innovation, but how can we make sure the technologies which exist are used in the places they are most beneficial to consumers too? The patent system is ridiculous! Look at apple and samsung, they fighting over the look of the phone!? Is apple saying consumers are too dumb to know what’s an iphone? I have an sgs2, as well as an N8 and not once has any none geek asked me if that’s an iphone.. They say is that that new galaxy? Oh well.. What can we as lil consumers do, profit motive is king.. And that is why the consumer in these types of markets may end up paying but getting less than what it deserves!

        • Harangue

          True, there need to be better guidelines to what one can patent and when one can patent such a thing.

          A working prototype or very well written out plan to make something would suffice. Today people can just think of an idea, make a rough scetch and submit it for patenting.

          That’s just plain wrong. Especially that iPhone vs. Galaxy debacle. eventhough they do look very much the same and it doesn’t make Samsung look very innovative. But one can only do so much with the large touchscreen slabs these days.

          And what about the flatscreen TV’s of today? They also all look the same. Samsung better sue LG, Sharp and the likes for copying that. 😛

  • vasu

    andre is a m$ troll.

    spreading FUD on competitors.

    • Harangue

      If you want to bash Andre, than at least try to do it in a rightious way. Contradict what he says in a somewhat solidly based way.

      Saying he is a troll (which is something different entirly though) or MS fanboy is to easy.

  • Shiamal Harkison

    By the way, the google blog was updated to counter the microsoft reply..

  • me

    Regardless of what you, the author, might hope, it’s impossible to make Android expensive enough to convince OEMs to jump ship to Windows Phone 7. That’s because companies don’t want to make products that people don’t want.

    People do not want Windows Phone 7.

    What happens, then? Well, like Apple, the successful companies like Samsung and HTC will just pay the tax. And still make profit. And especially, Windows Phone will not take off, because people don’t want Windows anywhere near their phones.

    Oh, tl;dr: People don’t want Windows Phone.

    • Jay Montano

      People haven’t tried it to know they’d like it and would actually want it 🙂 Perhaps.

      • Deep Space Bar

        i have and it’s smooth but really boring to look at …as in HORRIBLY BORING to look at

  • Titanium

    MS – Google = 2 – 0

    1) google has lost the patents
    2) google has lost the face with the unsubstantiated claims

  • m1keFB


    Interesting article.

    I can see Google using licenses to control Androids distribution. Then using the IP it has recently bought to protect license holders. Then control content (which is where the big money is anyway) through it’s license holders (taking a slice of every pie).

    Nokia (under SE) is trying to build a counter eco-system with Microsoft.

    It’s like playground warfare with rival kid gangs.

    But in the end (which will be very soon) none of this matters.

    This is Apple’s game. From the iPod to the iPhone and finally with the iPad they have all their players on the field while others are still picking their teams and strips.

    And very soon Google and Microsoft are going to get their wake-up call to reality.

    I suspect that Apple have something or somethings big planned. They are rapidly expanding their distribution channels. Apple Stores are going up every where. Independent channels are freeing up real estate. Telcos are making their networks ready for an expected large load of Apple products.

    Notice how the Apple product line-up is changing.

    Gone are the cheaper laptops . . making way for a high tier tablet?

    Gone are the optical drives . making way for pure cloud based content downloads?

    SJ remembers the rise of Microsoft and how they stole his crown. He will not give anyone a chance to take it away for a second time.

    SE has made plans for tomorrow’s battle with Google but everyone should be worried about “The Day After Tomorrow” when Apple makes it move to be the digital master of the universe.

    And there is very little anyone can do to stop them.

    • Deep Space Bar

      we need to get rid of them >:{

  • Jesse

    Android is an interesting idea. It is built off of so many other people’s technologies it seems there is no way it could ever be maintained over a long period of time.

    It is also interesting in the way there is no one to go to if there are issues. This pertains to OEM’s and users.. The buck eventually stops at the OEM but that is a big problem too as they don’t have the support needed for an operating system they did not create.

    Will be fun to see how it plays out, I hope it survives but on paper it seems like a very fragile model for long term success.

  • Enyibinakata


    Be honest, will you choose WP7 searay over the N9 ? Be honest ! You see, thats what I am talking about, Nokias OS is always special.

    I hope you give more attention to Meego, your love for WP7 is not helping your street cred man 🙂 .

    • So long as I’m doing reviews on this site, all of them will get the same amount of attention and detail.

      And whether I get an N9 or SeaRay depends on how good it is.

    • Jay Montano

      How much content overall do you see of all OSes? Whatever is getting attention or is exciting is being promoted. You can see just by going to AAS that nothing is happening in Symbian. MeeGo arguably more exciting and we have lots of MeeGo N9/N950 posts. I sometimes have to work around our posts as it might seem all I post about is the N9/N950. (Symbian post coming in morning ;))

  • h3csc

    Bullshit. When Nokia was the leader back in those days they are being flooded by different law suit too. Whoever that is successful will always has a bouty on its head. So do Apple, so do Google. Even your OS is completely original as long as you are the market leader someone will look for trouble from you. This simple theory applies everywhere, from the global market to kids fight in primary school.

    The analyst of this prediction might spent his whole life in front of the computer and not aware of how to world works.

  • napier

    But at least Android is open source. Much better than being the least closed source OS, isn’t it.

    • So being practically closed source and a legal liability to boot is better than legally sound and easily licensed.

      Seriously man? PS. Android OEM’s still have to pay google to get the apps amongst other things. The ONLY reason Google doesn’t charge for Android was to gain ubiquity and avoid legal liability.

      • napier

        You interpret least open source as practically closed source? That’s some amazing spinning there.
        Keep at it. You’ll get some people to believe your stuff if you repeat it enough. That’s what Goebbels said, right?

        • Ugh, the only thing really open about Android is the fact that they dump the source and documentation out every once in a while.

          That’s enough for you then fine, but I prefer open source AND open development, not a monolithic, monopolistic development environment.


          • napier

            And you support Microsoft’s WP7??!!! Cognitive dissonance indeed!

  • yasu

    “The strategy is far from risk free, it’s probably high risk. But it’s better than going Android, legal battles are already starting and will only heat up.”

    I’m not convinced that it’s better than the previous one who was just starting to bear fruits. And neither are those who have/had hard cash riding on this.

    But someone decided to make his work far more difficult and throw Nokia in a downward spiral in the infamous Icy Waters.

  • I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. kudos

  • I have learn some excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you place to make one of these magnificent informative web site.

  • Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I believe that you can do with some % to power the message home a bit, however other than that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  • I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you
    wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

  • Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this
    is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly
    be back.