comScore: Android Officially Passes RIM in U.S., iPhone Rises

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Google’s Android officially passed Research In Motion’s BlackBerry as the #1 smartphone platform in the U.S., according to research firm comScore. The company released survey data that found Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone were the only two smartphone platforms to gain market share in the March quarter compared to the December quarter, and that all the major handset makers lost share except Apple.

Starting with the first set of data, Google’s Android platform grew six percentage points in terms of share of smartphone subscribers, from 28.7% to 34.7%, a huge gain for just three months. Apple gained 0.5%, to grow from 25% of subscribers to 25.5%. All other major U.S. smartphone platforms lost share. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry platform showed up as the biggest loser, shrinking from first place 31.6% in the December 2010 quarter to #2 in the March quarter with 27.1%.

The chart below clearly demonstrates that the smartphone race is at this point a three horse race between Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry, with Android eating BlackBerry’s lunch. Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform continues to languish in 4th place, just ahead of 5th place Palm.

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2010
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+

comScore Chart

Chart showing platform growth from the December quarter of 2010 to the March quarter of 2011
Chart by The Mac Observer, with data provided by comScore

We also put together a bar graph of the same data that more clearly demonstrates share growth and share loss for each individual platform, which you can see below.

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2010
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+

comScore Chart

Chart showing smartphone platform gains and losses in a quarter-to-quarter basis
Chart by The Mac Observer, with data provided by comScore

The comScore report also included data looking at handset makers and their market share in the U.S. This is a different set of data in that it includes all mobile handsets, and not just smartphones, and it also does not take the mobile operating system into account. According to comScore’s survey, every major handset maker lost market share, except Apple, which grew from 6.8% of the market to 7.9%, to be the 5th place mobile handset maker in the U.S.

That’s quite an accomplishment considering that Apple has but one device, the iPhone, and doesn’t compete in the feature phone business that still comprises a majority of the mobile phone market in the U.S. If Apple continues these gains, the company will pass #4 Research In Motion as early as the current quarter. The research firm did not extrapolate future growth, however.

Top Mobile OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2010
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers Ages 13+

comScore Chart

Chart by The Mac Observer, with data provided by comScore

Comments

PorthosJon

Your graphs all say Dec 10, 2011… Future predictions anyone?

Bryan Chaffin

Thanks for catching that, PorthosJon. That was a little import/date format error in Numbers that I totally missed.

I uploaded corrected images. smile

wab95

Nice graphics, Bryan.

What would be more telling is to see, amongst the handset makers, where their revenue is coming from. Even though Motorola, Samsung and LG are losing market share, is their smartphone business now a relatively greater fraction of their business and revenue stream? Have revenue and profit increased in those product lines? How does net growth for the smartphones compare amongst the major handset makers?

They could argue that lumping their commodity phone and smartphone lines together masks real smartphone growth in their businesses (if true), and that they may look much more like Apple than is apparent in these graphs.

wab95

One other thought, investors cannot be emboldened by the performance of MS WinPhone 7 in their projections for the MS/Nokia tie-up, at least in the US market.

They will have to pin their hopes on global performance, unless MS/NOK come out with something new.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Congratulations are in order to Apple for using its Verizon Unicorn to tread water while RIM continued its more than steady decline.

@wab: Another interesting chart would be “Among people who purchased Apple smartphone products, the percentage of users by platform”. Apple would do remarkably well in that chart.

wab95

@wab: Another interesting chart would be ?Among people who purchased Apple smartphone products, the percentage of users by platform?. Apple would do remarkably well in that chart.

Your sense of humour is refreshingly undiminished, Bosco.

jfbiii

Why are we still comparing “platforms” to “phones?”

In other news, free phones continue to appeal to more people than phones that cost money.

BurmaYank

“...free phones continue to appeal to more people than phones that cost money.”

Apparently, that’s not actually so at Verizon & ATT in the US, where iPhones apparently “...appeal to more people than (any free phones or any other) phones that cost money.”

jfbiii

For any single free/inexpensive phone, sure. In the aggregate, they’re moving more units of cheap than pricey. I’m guessing that even if you threw in the high-end Android phones that don’t discount or go two-for-one that free still beats pricey on shear volume.

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