Android takes a bite out of Apple’s market share

The number of Android phones sold in Australia in the first three months of the year rose by 45%, according to new figures, suggesting that many entrepreneurs are looking beyond Apple when choosing smartphones.


According to market research company GfK, smartphones running on Google’s Android operating system are blitzing their competitors in terms of growth.


The company’s figures reveal other smartphones grew by only 17% in Australia in the first three months of the year, although the total number of handsets sold surpassed traditional mobile phones for the first time in the nation’s history.


Smartphones have become the best performing technology category in the past few years. While Apple has dominated the local market, it is a different story overseas, where Android has shot to prominence on phones made by Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.


Android’s rapid gains are likely due in part to the anticipated launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, which is expected to happen during the second half of the year.


It’s believed that many iPhone users will wait until the new model arrives before upgrading their handsets.


According to GfK’s report, information technology spending was up 14.1% during the March quarter, largely due to the popularity of web-books, while notebook and desktop computer sales recorded only single-digit growth.


Web-books are cheaper, less powerful notebooks with smaller screens designed primarily for accessing the internet.


But according to a report by market analyst firm Telsyte, tablet devices are the most sought-after gadget for businesses, which are becoming increasingly spoilt for choice.


“Based on Telsyte’s 2010 media tablet study, 64% of the tablets sold in Australia are for business use, and will continue to be the main driver for tablet demand,” Telsyte analyst Alvin Lee says.


“Businesses have a much greater range of devices than previously to choose from, from a range of suppliers… [For example,] BlackBerry’s Playbook is set to target the enterprise tablet market.”


The comments come in light of recent news that BlackBerry’s smartphone maker, Research In Motion, has recalled around 1,000 of its BlackBerry Playbook tablets due to defective operating software, which can make it impossible for users to set up the device.


RIM said in a statement that only PlayBooks with 16 gigabytes of memory were affected, and the majority of them have not been sold to customers.


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