Looks like it will take more than a lawsuit and a patent court case to slow down the Android platform’s global growth. On Monday, research firm Canalys reported that Google’s mobile platform has dominated in the Asia-Pacific region, taking 48 percent of the worldwide smartphone market.
Android, which is used by smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, Sony Ericsson, ZTE, and Huawei, is the top mobile platform in 35 of the 56 countries that are tracked by Canalys. Apple’s iOS came in a distant second with 19 percent market share, but the iPhone maker took the crown from Nokia’s Symbian as the world’s biggest single smartphone manufacturer.
Despite iPhone’s recent improvements in global growth, the company is still struggling in emerging markets compared to Android handsets, which have cheaper price points and the support of established manufacturers like Samsung and HTC. Although, Apple is already planning to introduce a lower-cost version of iPhone 4, and has expanded to various carriers in order to better compete with Android’s vast range of devices, retailers and prices.
Also on the rise is South Korea’s Samsung, which also overtook Nokia but Canalys analyst Chris Jones has this to say:
“Samsung has failed to fully capitalise on Nokia’s weakened state around the world, as the Finnish company rides out a challenging transitional period.
“It’s the best placed vendor to grow at Nokia’s expense, taking advantage of its global scale and channel reach, but it hasn’t yet done enough to capitalise on this, particularly in emerging markets.”
With Android’s rapidly growing popularity, a lot of competitors are trying to bring Google and its mobile OS down. Oracle sued Google for alleged infringement of its Java software, while Apple, Microsoft and RIM won Nortel’s wireless patent, which might require Google to pay large amount of licensing fees.
In its effort to keep up with Android in the emerging markets sector, Apple hired recruitment firm Egon Zehnder International to find a new retail chief—with international experience. The successful candidate will replace senior vice president Ron Johnson, who will leave Apple on Nov. 1 for J.C. Penney.
The recent move by Apple signifies the importance of the Asian market, an area currently dominated by Android. The popularity of Google’s mobile platform in Asia is largely attributed to a couple of smartphone companies: Taiwan’s HTC and South Korea’s Samsung.
HTC reported an increased in profit for the second quarter, with a net profit of $17.52 billion New Taiwan dollars ($59 million); revenue rose to NT$124.40 from NT$60.96 billion from last year. Samsung’s revenue was 39.44 trillion won ($37.34 billion), a four percent increase from last year; revenue decreased by 18 percent at 3.51 trillion won.
Both HTC and Samsung are facing patent infringement cases from Apple, with the former seeking a deal just to prevent a sales ban in the U.S.
With all these lawsuits against makers of Android smartphones in Asia, Apple is surely bringing the fight over at the Asian market. Android may have an advantage right now, but Apple is trying out all the tricks in the hat to close the gap.
All of these developments show that the mobile industry is getting bigger and Google is on the right track. Android’s global domination starts now—unless competitors will up the ante a little further.
image credit: salendron