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Android 2010: A Year in Review

January 16, 2011

What a year for Android! We saw the release of some incredible things. Andy Rubin happily declared in December that daily Android Activations had reached 300,000. With this number in mind, and looking at current growth projections worldwide, key analysts have boosted their projections to over 600,000 daily activations by 2011 year’s end. Digitimes Research went public with the statement that Motorola is likely to unseat HTC as the world’s top vendor of Android-powered handsets in 2011. Apparently, Moto’s shipments of Android phones will account for a 34.7% share of the segment compared to HTC’s 31.9%.

2010 saw Android dominating the smartphone market and taking market share away from Apple’s opaque walled garden. 2011 started off with a huge bang in the form of Google announcing Android 2.3 which is a significant improvement over previous iterations of the O/S. In 2010, Android captured the hearts and minds of millions of Smartphone users worldwide. Custom modders like Cyanogen and the community that continues to rally behind it demonstrated the true power of open source by debuting some seriously advanced features for Android Smartphone users worldwide.

Why it 2010 is significant: Android’s incredible rise illustrated several trends in the smartphone market. One was the relative decline of both Symbian and BlackBerry. Both witnessed the beginning of the end, and saw their market shares erode as Android picked up momentum. Android’s threat to Symbian seemed particularly striking. Another trend was Android’s representation of the growing need for different smartphones as well. Despite the amount of techno-lust we all have, people’s dollars demonstrated that having a marketplace full of choice and option is a good thing. Competition and diversity have come to characterize the Android Smartphone market, with both high-end devices like the HTC Desire HD and a whole slew of lower-end devices that are less intimidating to first-time smartphone buyers.

Towards the End:

Android’s share of the worldwide smartphone market rose from less than less than 5% in 2009 to 13.8% in the first half of 2010 and reached 24.5% in the second half to become the second most popular smartphone platform in the world. Shipments of Android-based smartphones jumped 561% from 2009 to 2010 to more than 55 million units in 2010.

2011, many have predicted, will be the year that Android explodes. Smartphone adoption has been growing at near breakneck pace over the past year, but still only account for approximately one-third of all phones in the US and an even smaller percentage internationally.  In developing countries, the price of smartphone is a key factor in helping bolster the continued growth of Android. Thankfully, several manufacturers have and are answering this particular calling, by introducing quality Android handsets with very attractive prices. India and China each have more than a billion people, and with a quickly growing middle class in both, Android is likely to be adopted en masse in these places too. It’s important to also remember that neither country has much more than 10% smartphone adoption currently.

The beautiful thing about an open O/S ecosystem like Android is the bigger it gets, the better it gets. Competition results in better prices for everyone. Competition fosters innovation and growth. All of these things considered, 2011 will most likely go down as the year Android really gained widespread adoption in history. Some will say that Android is potentially heading down a path of no return with significant fragmentation with too many different revisions, and too many different manufacturers, but we at the Android Phone are confident that the genii at Google have a few tricks up their sleeve to address these issues.

2010 Best Android Phones:

The Motorola Droid:

It is one of the most highly rated Android smartphones and one of Amazon’s best-selling. The Motorola DROID sported Android 2.0 to start, and featured a 3.7-inch touchscreen and slide-out full QWERTY keyboard. Containing Wi-Fi networking and a 5-megapixel camera/camcorder, the DROID became famous for its fantastic build quality, containing Gorilla Glass and a cool industrial design. Still a great phone in many respects, Motorola went on to improve it with the Droid 2, which advanced many of its weaker points (keyboard, processor) in nearly every single way.

HTC Desire HD:

HTC debuted this Smartphone to great fanfare in 2010. It featured a delightfully large 4.3-inch multitouch display. It also contained a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, Wi-Fi networking, and a 8-megapixel camera/camcorder. Its one Achilles heel was its relatively short battery life, but it more than made up for it with wonderful functionality, great hardware and huge screen real-estate.

Samsung Galaxy S:

People love this phone, and for good reason. It features a great front VGA front camera, a 5-megapixel camera, a 4-inch 480 × 800 pixel Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen display and 1 GHz Hummingbird processor with 8 to16GB internal Flash memory. It is a pleasure to use this phone, and the colors on it really pop out. Some say it was one of the first phones that legitimately challenged the Iphone in nearly every way. Judging by the fact that it was one of the best, if not the best-selling Android Smartphones in 2010, it’s easy to see why.

In Conclusion:

So that’s the year in review. We hope you enjoyed it. There were seismic shifts industry-wide in 2010 and 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Android Smartphone lovers worldwide. We will likely see some monumental advancements in every area of mobile technology, as manufacturers vie for the ultimate goal of total digital convergence. With the debut of Dual-Core phones on the horizon, and 4G protocol set to become the norm, it’s easy to envision such a reality occurring.

What do you think is in store for Android in 2011? We always love to hear your comments.