Android leads Linux mobile sales higher

Linux-on-mobile sales were given a healthy boost in 2008's final quarter by Google's Android operating system.

IT analysts Gartner said in its latest report on the state of smartphones, that Linux-based mobile sales increased from 2.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 3.2 million units at the end of 2008. This growth was despite a general slowdown for the entire smartphone sector over the same period.

Gartner estimates that HTC's G1 Android-based mobile smartphone accounted for as much as 20% of Linux sales during the quarter. Linux-on-mobile sales climbed 19.5 percent during the quarter when compared with the corresponding 2007 quarter.

However, the picture is not as rosy when comparing 2008 with 2007's sales. Linux-based smartphone sales in 2008 were down 4.2 percent on 2007 sales.

Sales of Apple's iPhone in 2008 were a massive 245.7 percent higher than in 2007 and Research in Motion's Blackberry devices increased sales by 96.7 percent.

At the top of the OS pile, Symbian remained dominant. It accounted for 52.4 percent of the smartphone market in 2008. However, it was down 6.1 percent on 2007's figures, as Symbian also lost ground to Apple's Mac OS X and RIM.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile increased sales by 12.2 percent when comparing 2007 and 2008.

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