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Android jumps to 44 percent U.S. smartphone share

Nov 3, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Sales of Android phones led Apple iOS, RIM's BlackBerry and others in the U.S. in the third quarter, shipping on about 44 percent of new smartphones, according to research from Canalys and the NPD Group. Worldwide, some 20 million Android phones were sold in the third quarter, representing a quarter of the market, says Canalys.

Android shipped on 44 percent of all smartphones in the United States for the third quarter, up 11 percentage points from the second quarter, the NPD Group said.

The most popular smartphones sold in the United States included the number four ranking Motorola Droid X (pictured above right), and fifth ranked HTC Evo 4G (pictured below left), with the Droid 2, HTC's Droid Incredible, and Samsung's Galaxy S line of Android smartphones also selling well.

Apple iOS, whose meteoric rise up the smartphone rankings has been tempered by Android's own popularity, gained one percentage point to hit 23 percent of all installations. Its iPhone 4, launched in late June, was the top-selling smartphone.

Despite having the second highest-selling smartphone in the BlackBerry Curve 8500, Research in Motion (RIM) saw its share further eroded by Android and iOS: RIM and its BlackBerry phones dropped to 22 percent from 28 percent in the second quarter.

Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, said, "The HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Droid X and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide."

Android's rise from 2009 to 2010 has been impressive. When NPD compared its Q3 2009 Android numbers to the current stats, the research group discovered that RIM OS share declined 53 percent, with Apple iOS dropping 21 percent.

Canalys: Android owns 25 percent of global market

For the most part, Canalys reported similar smartphone shipment stats to NPD, noting that Android's 3Q smartphone share in the U.S. was 43.6 percent, very close to NPD's 44 percent estimate. Apple took 26 percent share and RIM had 24 percent, says the study.

U.S. smartphone shipment share by OS, Q3 2010
Source: Canalys

Worldwide, Canalys did not offer a full breakdown by OS, but said that Nokia''s Symbian held on to its lead while Android "proved the greatest driver of growth." Globally, Android is up 1,309 percent year-on-year from 1.4 million in Q3 2009 to more than 20.0 million units in Q3 2010, "forming a quarter of the market share," said the research firm.

Canalys Senior Analyst Pete Cunningham noted that, while Android is featured on leading high-end smartphones, it also appears on lower-end devices such as the LG GT540 Optimus and Huawei's Vodafone 845, "ensuring that Android devices are available and affordable to consumers on almost any budget."

In worldwide sales by manufacturer, Nokia still held a commanding lead with 33 percent, Canalys said. Apple grabbed 17 percent of the worldwide smartphone shipment share, passing RIM at 15 percent for the quarter.

Interestingly, Rubin noted that while the iPhone has held its own at AT&T, Apple faces challenges in expanding its domestic market share versus Android on the lone carrier.

That comment comes as Verizon is reportedly set to launch the iPhone, possibly as soon as January. That should prove a major disruption in the smartphone market, with the iPhone likely winning back gobs of lost share from Android and crunching RIM even more.

Further information

The NPD Group 3Q 2010 Mobile Phone Track smartphone study announcement may be found here, and more on the study itself should be here.

The Canalys third quarter smartphone study announcement may be found here, and more on the study should be here.

An eWEEK story posted Oct. 30, reporting on third quarter smartphone reports by research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics, may be found here.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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