The Android smartphone operating system from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) grabbed nearly 70% of sales in China during the fourth quarter of 2011 according to a new report from Chinese research firm Analysys International. The iOS operating system from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) claimed 5.7% of the market, trailing Symbian from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which claimed market share of 18.7%. The Windows Mobile operating system from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) had a 1.2% share and the Blackberry operating system from Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) garnered a bare 0.1% share.
The research firm attributes Android’s dominance to its adoption by so many handset manufacturers that offer phones at a variety of price points. Symbian’s position remains strong due to its established base and to its adoption in low-priced phones. The iOS operating system faces a big issue, according to Analysys International:
iPhone’s high price and penetration capability are unable to satisfy the needs of medium and low market.
Android’s share more than doubled from 33.6% in the first quarter of 2011 to 68.4% in the fourth quarter, while Symbian dropped from 42.5% to 18.7% in the same period. Apple’s share rose from 4.1% to 5.7% and RIM’s share dropped from 2.1% to 0.1%.
If, as the company claims, Apple is looking at China for growth, then it may have to come up with an offer that will appeal to many more Chinese. In the company’s favor is that China is still rolling out its 3G networks, and Apple may be able to offer its older 3G phones at more competitive prices to Chinese buyers.