Google’s Android dethrones Nokia’s Symbian as world’s top smart phone operating system


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Google’s Android has surpassed Nokia’s Symbian as the top smart phone operating system worldwide.

The shift is a big one -- Symbian has been the leading smart phone operating system globally since the smart phone market launched about a decade ago, according to a report from Reuters.


Android’s ascension is particularly notable because of how quick it has risen to the top of the smart phone software heap. Google’s first Android operating system release was in October 2008.

According to the Reuters report, about 32.9 million handsets running Android were sold worldwide in the last three months of 2010, up nearly seven times more than the same period in 2009. Phones powered by Symbian accounted for 31 million handsets sold in the fourth quarter of last year, according to data from the research firm Canalys, the report said.

Sales of Apple’s iPhone rose to 16.2 million units in the fourth quarter, up from 8.7 million a year earlier, according to Reuters.

A key difference between Google and its competitors such as Nokia, Apple and Research In Motion is the fact that Google doesn’t make its handsets itself. As Reuters noted, Android has become the operating system of choice for HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung and others.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles