Google’s Android operating system gave Linux-on-mobile sales a healthy boost in the fourth quarter of 2008. In its latest report on the state of smartphones, IT analysts Gartner said 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 was despite a general slowdown in growth 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. All told, Linux-on-mobile sales climbed 19.5 percent during the quarter when compared with the corresponding 2007 quarter.
Comparing 2008 with 2007, however, the picture is not as rosy. Linux-based smartphone sales in 2008 were down 4.2 percent over 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 operating system pile Symbian remained dominant, accounting for 52.4 percent of the smartphone market in 2008. This was, however, down 6.1 percent over 2007 as Symbian also lost ground to Apple’s Mac OS X and RIM. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile managed to increase its sales by 12.2 percent when comparing 2007 and 2008.