Every quarter a company called NPD Group releases numbers regarding the number of smartphones sold sporting the various operating systems. Their research is not an analysis of market share, but it is an analysis of the devices sold for a specific quarter. Market share is tracked by other companies such as Comscore.
I think both statistics are interesting and enlightening. The statistics covering what is selling the most give you a view as to where the industry is going. It’s sort of a measure of acceleration of various brands. On the other hand, the market share numbers show you what the population of smartphone users are carrying right now. No matter which you look at, the battle continues between Apple iOS and Google Android, with all others losing ground rapidly.
- Android and Apple are winning the day.Android has continued to post incredible sales penetration. The reason is obvious. It is the only platform that offers a clear alternative to iPhone at the moment, and it has benefited from focus by large carriers and large handset makers. Apple is maybe even more impressive in that it generates these numbers with essentially just one handset; two if you include the 3GS still being sold by AT&T.
- The launch of iPhone on Verizon hurt Android. iPhone was available on Verizon toward the beginning of February this year. Looking at these numbers, that hurt both Android and BlackBerry sales substantially. It shows the power of the Apple brand coupled with extremely good execution in terms of the design of the iPhone 4.
- Both RIM (BlackBerry) and Microsoft are not getting it done. BlackBerry has been losing ground in the sales game for the last year. The news is not good for them. Probably as interesting is the fact that Microsoft is continuing to lose ground, and Windows Mobile 7 has made no dent in the losses. Microsoft is such a small part of overall smartphone sales that it frequently gets rolled into the “other” category.
When you combine the information from NPD Group with market share statistics from Comscore, the picture is even more dramatic. According to a recent Comscore press release, Android now owns 34.7% of the smartphone market in the US. This means that of all the people who own a smartphone in the US, a little over one third of us are carrying Android phones. Apple made a strong showing with 25.5% of the market, and BlackBerry dropped about 6 percentages points from just 3 months ago coming in at 27.1% of the market.
The battle continues between Android and Apple, but these statistics should signal a note of caution for both. Both must continue to innovate and pay attention to the needs of users, or they will quickly find themselves in the same struggle as RIM and Microsoft.
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