Wow. According to comScore, Android now captures 33% of the smartphone market, up from 21.4% in the end of September.
The figures come from a survey of 30,000 American mobile phone operators. The second biggest smartphone platform was rim with 29% and then Apple with 25%. Microsoft came in at a paltry 7.7%, down 1.3% since the launch of the Windows Phone 7 in November of last year.
The results of the poll matter because technology trends tend to center around dominant players (think Google, Facebook, Twitter), and when there are huge gains in one platform over another, developers begin focusing most of their energy on developing for that platform, which further increases the dominance and ubiquity of that platform. It's a snowball effect.
Android's market share increased an incredible 7 points as its sales shot up 888.8% in 2010. Apple, on the other hand, is not doing so well, with iOS continuing its flat growth trend with a subscriber share of about 25%. Apple's strategy has been to capture the premium market and care little about who has ¾ of the market share, but you better believe they'll take notice of this development.
Apple is trying to build a protected ecosystem. This is great if your goal is to combat fragmentation, but it makes it incredibly hard to compete against a software platform that is being released across so many different types of hardware.
Apple's decision not to relase the iPhone in June will likely excaerbate rather than slow this trend. I think they'll have to build a cheaper phone to capture more market share, which is a vague possibility in the future, but the Droid is currently beating them to a pulp.