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Study: U.S. still BlackBerry country, but Android doubles share

Feb 9, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

A comScore MobiLens study on the 4Q 2009 mobile phone market in the U.S. estimates that Android was the fastest growing smartphone operating system (OS), although it only barely topped a 5 percent share. In other findings, almost a quarter of the nation's 234 million mobile users had Motorola phones, says comScore.

Touting its "comScore MobiLens service," comScore says 234 million people aged 13 and older in the United States used cellular phones in December 2009. Of these, 23.5 percent were manufactured by Motorola, 21.9 percent were manufactured by LG, 21.1 percent were manufactured by Samsung, 9.2 percent were built by Nokia, and 7.0 percent came from RIM, according to the firm.

Top cellphone OEMs, Sept. to Dec. 2009
Source: comScore

The report did not break down the total U.S. cellular market by OS, but it did break down U.S. smartphone sales by OS (see chart below). Android comprised only 5.2 percent of the market in December 2009, but that was more than double than its 2.5 percent share in September, comScore says. This would make the Linux-based Android OS the fastest growing mobile OS during the period, and the only other platform in the top five aside from Apple to grow at all.

The study covered "the three month period between September and December 2009," according to ComScore. Despite the vague wording, this likely means the fourth quarter starting on Oct. 1 and ending on Jan. 1, but it may well refer to a period starting and ending a month earlier. If it is the latter, the study may be missing a likely boost in Android's numbers over the holidays, led especially by the Motorola Droid

Top smartphone platforms, Sept. to Dec. 2009
Source: comScore

According to comScore, RIM's BlackBerry devices continued its domination of the U.S. smartphone market, with 41.6 percent share. Apple ranked second with 25.3 percent share, up 1.2 percentage points. Windows Mobile had 18 percent share of the smartphone market in December 2009, down one point from September, the firm says.

Palm, meanwhile, fell 2.2 points to a share of 6.2 percent, followed by Android at 5.2 percent, the firm says. (There was no word about whether the Palm numbers include only devices running the PalmOS, or also ones using the Linux-based WebOS used on the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi.) Symbian, meanwhile, did not make the top five, although it is much more popular outside the U.S. By most counts, Symbian still dominates worldwide mobile phone sales, and remains competitive in the global smartphone market.

Mobile content usage, Sept. to Dec. 2009
Source: comScore

The study did not say how many of the 234 million total handsets it counted were smartphones. Given that BlackBerry devices are all typically considered to be smartphones, however, applying a little imagineering and fuzzy math to the figures the firm released for RIM leads to the conclusion that smartphones now make up about 20 percent of U.S. devices.

Appearing to confirm this, or even suggest that it's an under-estimate, comScore said 27.5 percent of mobile subscribers in the U.S. used web browsers on their phones in December 2009. Meanwhile, 17.8 percent were said to have used downloaded apps.


More information on comScore's MobiLens service may be found on the company's website, here.

For more information about the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, see the show website, here.

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