Samsung and HTC devices reign on Android; Sony unleashes Xperia Play

by Kristen Nicole

When it comes to the mobile market, manufacturers are some of the biggest players, especially those that can ride in on Android’s popularity. While Apple (AAPL) still reigns as the top manufacturer with nearly 33 percent of the market, Samsung (005930.KS) and HTC (2498.TW) follow in second and third place, according to Millennial Media’s Mobile Mix report for April, 2011. The monthly snapshot of the mobile industry highlights device and manufacturer data, noting the HTC Evo as the third most popular smartphone in the short list of top 20 mobile devices. In fact, HTC is well-represented across the board, with seven devices in the top 20 list, fanning out its market share thanks to its early team-up with Android.

When it comes to mobile advertising, Millennial Media’s network is seeing top billing for Android devices, as they continue to drive impressions. Android devices account for 16 of the top 20 mobile phones for April, giving Android a 25 percent overall representation within Millennial Media’s network. Gaming is becoming quite a catalyst for mobile advertising, taking up 32 percent of the app downloads in Millennial’s Network. That’s a good sign for Sony (SNE) Ericsson, having just announced a launch data for its game-centric device, the Xperia Play.

Support grows for independent devices, marketplaces

Hitting stores May 26, Verizon (VZ) customers will be the first in the U.S. to get their hands on this highly anticipated mobile device. Cozy-up with a two-year contract, and you’ll get the Xperia Play for $199. Featuring a slide-down game pad in lieu of a keyboard, the Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon II 1Ghz processor is made for gaming, supporting Flash and running Android Gingerbread. The specialized Android device is an important move for Sony Ericsson, as it builds its catalog of mobile devices. Sony’s been fairly enthusiastic in its Android team-ups, being an early supporter of Google TV as well.

AT&T (T) devices are being released from the grip of restrictive app downloads, as the carrier finally lifted the ban on third party marketplace downloads. This extends support for the Amazon (AMZN) Appstore, a burgeoning alternative to Google’s (GOOG) official Android Market. The recently launched Samsung Infuse is among the first of AT&T’s line-up capable of installing apps from outside sources, including unofficial app stores or web links, a process otherwise known as sideloading.