Tech wrap: Android takes over

April 7, 2011

A T-Mobile G1 Google phone running Android is shown photographed in Encinitas, California January 20, 2010. REUTERS/Mike BlakeGrowing demand for phones running on Google’s Android platform will help the smartphone market grow in 2011, boosting companies like HTC and Samsung who are betting on the platform, analysts said.

The smartphone market will grow 58 percent this year and 35 percent the next, research firm Gartner said. Android, a distant No. 2 to Nokia’s Symbian platform just last year, will increase its market share to 39 percent in 2011, while Symbian’s share will roughly halve to 19 percent following Nokia’s decision to dump the platform. Apple’s iPhone platform will be slightly bigger than Symbian this year, while Research In Motion will control 13 percent of the market and Microsoft Windows Phone 6 percent.

Sales of cameraphones will grow to more than 1 billion handsets this year, helped by fast growth at the high end of the market, Strategy Analytics said.

Moody’s cut its credit rating on Nokia, citing the Finnish company’s weakening market position and uncertainty over its transition to Microsoft’s Windows Phone software. HTC overtook Nokia in market capitalization for the first time on Thursday. Nokia still has higher volumes, selling 19 phones for each HTC phone sold last year. But its average sale price was just $85 compared with HTC’s $360, according to Strategy Analytics.

The FCC adopted data roaming rules that would allow smartphones to access the Internet in areas across the country not covered by their wireless carrier, forcing carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless to offer “reasonable” roaming rates. Under the rules, wireless carriers would be free to negotiate the terms of the agreements, and could institute safeguards to prevent congestion or harm to their networks from roaming traffic.

Facebook teamed up with some of tech hardware’s biggest names — HP, Dell, AMD, and Intel — to launch the “open compute project”. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the project aims to offer specifications and designs for more power-efficient computers that are specifically geared toward running Internet services, shared openly with other companies.

The Justice Department is close to a deal that would allow Google to buy airline ticketing software company ITA Software, while requiring that the software remain available to Google rivals, according to a source close to the deal.

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