A research firm says Google Inc.'s Android has become the world's No. 1 smart phone software, surpassing Nokia Corp.'s Symbian operating system based on shipments in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Canalys said Monday that shipments of Android-based smart phones hit 32.9 million in the last three months of the year, while devices running the Symbian platform fell slightly behind at 31 million worldwide. Apple Inc. was in third place with 16.2 million units.
The overall smart phone market soared 89 percent in the fourth quarter, to 101.2 million units shipped, Canalys said.
"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," said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones in a statement.
Google first rolled out its free Android mobile software in 2008 on HTC Corp.'s G1 smart phone. It has since expanded to more than 170 phones and a number of tablet computers. The company said last week it is getting closer to releasing a version of the Android software meant for tablet computers, one that will include a fresh look and updated Web browser and keyboard.
Google's shares slipped 68 cents to $600.31 in morning trading, while American Depositary shares of Espoo, Finland-based Nokia climbed 10 cents to $10.66. Shares of Apple climbed $1.31 to $337.54.