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In May 2011, Analysts Firm Gartner declared Android shot up its market share from a mere 9.6 % in Quarter 1 (Q1) of 2010 to a whopping 36 % in Q1 of 2011. By June 2011, Android had further gained a dominant share of 45.2 % against 10.7% in June 2010. The growth was the result of a growing popularity of HTC and Samsung handsets that are Android enabled.

In comparison, the erstwhile market leader iPhone's market position slipped from 30.6% in 2010 to 18.3% in 2011. The position fell primarily because of the growing numbers of smartphone users in the country and not because Britons had stopped buying the popular smart phone.
Researchers revealed that about 74 % of Android users in the UK were first time smartphone users and merely 1.4 % of the Android users were ex-iPhone users.

They further added iPhone and Android users were brand loyalists and were unlikely to switch platforms because they had already invested in many apps in the course of their usage. Around late 2008, Android phones entered the British market with G1 handsets made by Taiwan based HTC, on the T Mobile network.

Android is an open source operating system for mobile phones. The software platform developed by Android is on user friendly Java programming. This could be used freely by mobile phone software developers to create any application, to be installed by the handset manufacturers in their products.

It was in October 2003, Android Inc. was started in Palo Alto, California, United States by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White. The founder members chose to keep their business pursuit a secret initially and told the public that they were simply developing some software product for mobile handsets. In 2005, the founders of Android took a strategic decision to sell off the 22 months old start up to Google Inc., which was on a look out to enter the mobile phone segment around then. While Android gained the leadership of Google, the later got a much needed technological edge to enter the smartphone segment along with a rich talent pool.


Even though iPhone and Blackberry have lost market share in the recent times, they still have a strong brand identity. Apple still rules the roost when it comes to tablet market. Moreover, there are other players like Nokia and Microsoft, who had announced in early 2011, a deal to develop smart phones together.

The challenge before Android is to keep the existing users glued in by introducing new and innovative applications and services. The good news for the Android lovers is that more and more mobile companies, including Sony Ericsson, Motorola, HTC, Samsung and LG, among others are coming up with Android backed phones. This will ensure that a wider segment of users will access the software and aid in its growth. Moreover the new versions of Android, Gingerbread and Honeycomb will ensure that the brand meets all technological challenges thrown in by its rival brands.

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