Google's Android platform has overhauled Symbian at the peak of the smartphone market, according to the latest figures released by Canalys.
The analyst's 2010 global country-level smartphone market data revealed Android-based smartphone shipments reached 32.9 million in the fourth quarter, with devices running Nokia's Symbian platform slightly less at 31 million.
Sales of smartphone continued to soar in Q4, with year-on-year growth of 89 per cent, and for the year as a whole shipments hit just under 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80 per cent over 2009.
Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys, said: "2010 has been a fantastic year for the smartphone market. After a difficult 2009, the speed with which the market has recovered has required real commitment and innovation from vendors, and they have risen to the challenge.
"But vendors cannot afford to be complacent. 2011 is set to be a highly competitive year with vendors looking to use new technology, such as dual-core processors, NFC and 3D displays, to differentiate their products and maintain value."
EMEA remained the largest market, with shipments totalling 38.8 million and year-on-year growth of 90 per cent.
Nokia continued to top the charts in EMEA and Asia Pacific, but was overtaken last year by RIM in Latin America which shipped more than a million units more than Nokia in Q4 2010, primarily helped by its Curve family of devices.
In the US, RIM snatched first place back from Apple, helped by the first full quarter of shipments for its BlackBerry Torch device. HTC maintained third place in the US, helped along by its Android updates and Windows Phone 7 devices.
Tim Shepherd, analyst at Canalys, said the Verizon-Apple agreement will mean a shift in the US.
"Verizon will move its focus away from the Droid range, but the overall market impact will mean less carrier-exclusive deals, while increasing the AT&T opportunity for Android vendors such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung," he said.
In separate news, IDC's latest research on the mobile phone market recorded a 17.9 per cent Q4 growth with vendors shipping a total of 401.4 million units in Q4 2010, compared with 340.5 million in the same quarter a year ago.
IDC's top vendors for 2010 were Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics and ZTE, with Apple bringing up the rear in fifth place.
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