ComScore: Apple Passes RIM in Handsets, Smartphones

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Apple and Google both showed gains in the U.S. mobile phone market in the three months ending n May of 2011, according to new data released by market research firm comScore. The company said that Apple lengthened its lead over Research In Motion in total handsets, while Apple and Google both gained share in the smartphone-specific market, with Apple’s iOS passing RIM’s BlackBerry to be the #2 smartphone platform.

While Apple only sells one mobile phone, the iPhone, comScore’s data shows the company to be the #4 mobile handset maker in the U.S. Apple sold 8.7% of all mobile handsets, a 1.2% gain over the three months ending in February, while #5 RIM showed a -0.5% decline.

In fact, only Apple and #2 LG (+0.2%) showed gains in the company’s survey, with #1 Samsung holding even and #3 Motorola dropping by 1%.

The figure below shows the Top Five (plus “Others”) handset makers for the U.S.

comScore Handset Share

Chart by The Mac Observer from comScore data

Looking at platforms, Google increased its lead as the #1 smartphone platform, claiming 38.1% of the market in the three months ending in May. That’s a gain of 5.1% from February. Apple showed a smaller gain of 1.4% to claim the #2 spot for the first time with 26.6% of the market.

The other three platforms (not including “Others”) all showed declines, however, including RIM (-4.2%), Microsoft (-1.9%), and Palm (-0.4%).

The figure below shows the overall breakdown of smartphone platforms.

comScore Smartphone Share

Chart by The Mac Observer from comScore data

It should be noted that comScore’s data comes from a survey of some 30,000 U.S. consumers, as opposed to actual sales data. Still, the company’s results track well with similar data from other research firms that use their own sales tracking methodology to determine market share.

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

It’s worth emphasizing that the second chart is not sales data, but installed base data. These are devices that are in actual use now (well, May 3-month window), not the 3 iOS devices sitting in my drawer, nor the phones that people will purchase in the next week. It ought to finally be clear from that chart and how it has evolved over the last 19 months (animation, Bryan!!) that the market prefers more open platforms that offer a wide range of choices to customers. It should also be clear that the Verizon Unicorn basically helped Apple tread water in a quickly rising sea.

I’ll illustrate one really cool thing about the Android phone market with an example. My best friend is on Verizon and wanted to upgrade to a smart phone before capped data plans arrived on Verizon. He had an aging Palm phone, and he is notoriously cheap. So this past weekend, he went to the Verizon and got the LG Vortex, which was $50 on contract. It has a 3.5” screen and is basically a cheap-ass phone. He liked everything about it except the on-screen keyboard, which apparently is too small for anyone over the age of about 8 to use successfully. So he went back to Verizon last night, returned it, and walked out with an HTC Droid Incredible 2, a pretty nice phone. He intended to swap the LG for a Samsung Galaxy S, but thought its glass feel was a dropped phone waiting to happen. Anyway, that’s what I’ve felt was missing from Apple’s approach since I got my 3GS. You get the iPhone the way Apple wants you to get it, with limited choice on price points, form factors, skins, etc. The fragmentation of Android that Apple fans decry is really its greatest strength. The low price of the LG lured my friend into the fold when he’d probably have been willing to hold out longer before getting a real smart phone. The feel of the HTC was better for him than the Samsung.

Boley

Bosco, what I’m seeing among my friends is they are buying Android not because they prefer open in the sense of more versions, but simply lack of choice in platforms.  The Verizon users have switched or will soon switch (waiting for iPhone 5) to iPhones now that they are available and the T-Mobile and Cellular South friends are holding out hope for a universal iPhone 5. Business customers are being asked by the minor carriers to hold on a little longer, “we think we will have the iPhone soon”.  I’ve only met one real live “I love my Android” person so far (though I read about them all the time). I’m thinking maybe they only live on the west coast?

Lee Dronick

I?ve only met one real live ?I love my Android? person so far (though I read about them all the time). I?m thinking maybe they only live on the west coast?

Look for someone with a neckbeard. smile

I live on the West Coast, San Diego, and iPhones are very popular here though I do see other smart phones being used. I don’t know the numbers, but it seems that iPhones are predominate

mrmwebmax

+

It ought to finally be clear from that chart and how it has evolved over the last 19 months (animation, Bryan!!) that the market prefers more open platforms that offer a wide range of choices to customers. It should also be clear that the Verizon Unicorn basically helped Apple tread water in a quickly rising sea.

The only thing clear about that chart is that 20+ Android phones on 4 carriers only manage to be 1.43 times as popular as two or four phones on (now) two carriers. So do the math, Bosco: For every three Android phones out there, there are two iPhones. Is this because people love open? Or maybe, just maybe, because people love two-for-one Droid sales, especially families? Or maybe constrained supplies of the iPhone? Or maybe a preference for T-Mobile or Sprint? Or maybe, just maybe, holding out for iPhone 5?

I’ve said it before: If Android is so vastly superior, why isn’t it crushing iPhone into dust? Oh well, good to know that “the Verizon Unicorn basically helped Apple tread water in a quickly rising sea”...not because Apple is treading water in any way, shape, or form (that thud you heard was Steve Jobs laughing so hard at the thought that he fell off of one of the many multi-billion dollar piles of cash at One Infinite Loop), but good to know because the Verizon unicorn is no longer “flaccid.” Market demand? Viagra? Who knows???

Finally, please, master of open platforms, explain to me—if people prefer open to closde as you say over and over again—why Android tablet sales are in the toilet, while Apple can’t make iPads fast enough? Maybe if they sold Android tablets two-for-one they might have a chance. It worked with phones, you know.

RonMacGuy

And there’s the sound of mrmgraphics getting sucked into another Bosco-initiated argument!!

I know the sound well, as I continue to experience it myself, but this time I was trying hard to avoid it!!

mrm, you really need to stop applying common sense to Bosco’s spewings!!  By the end of the year iPhone will be 10% market share and we will all be walking away with our tails between our legs…  Mark Bosco’s words…

BTW, my brother’s wife just got Verizon iPhone (loves it) - brother with his droid POS is very jealous - he can’t make the move until June 2012, and will continually regret jumping on the droid bandwagon prematurely (I told him to wait just a bit longer for Verizon iPhone, but he didn’t).  Verizon android “update” messed his phone up - they had to reset it back to original state.  He was pretty pissed!!  LMAO.

RonMacGuy

Maybe if they sold Android tablets two-for-one they might have a chance. It worked with phones, you know.

LOL.  Oh, very good mrm!!  Very good!!

Martin Hill

As usual, notice that this chart is comparing 2 individual manufacturers (Apple, RIM) against several groupings of many manufacturers.

Now to be really useful, this graph would compare individual smartphone manufacturers against each other so we could see which manufacturers are doing well and which aren’t. Apple of course comes out as the number one manufacturer by a country mile.

Now if you are instead more interested in comparing operating systems, app platforms and browsing share, then you would need to include all the devices in each OS platform. ?How else will developers know the total number of devices able to run their software or ad companies and content providers know the true size of their potential audience on each platform? ?

ComScore has in fact already compared all *active* iOS devices versus all Android devices and found that iOS is 59% larger than Android in the USA and 116% larger in Europe in April. ?This is the really important figure - smartphones are just a small sub-segment of these wider mobile OS platforms.

By only counting smartphones when comparing OS platforms, you are immediately giving the erroneous impression that Android has the biggest installed base when that is far from the case.

-Mart

Martin Hill

I should of course mention that even if Android does eventually surpass iOS in installed base, the question is - will it matter? ?It certainly didn’t for Symbian who for years had vastly larger sales and installed base than everyone else.

With iOS continuing to make 11x more income for developers and represent 14x more app downloads (free and paid), 3.4x larger web browser share and 10x larger music and media store market share and vastly more 3rd party hardware peripherals than Android - on current evidence, having larger unit sales means absolutely nothing.

-Mart

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Well, at least you guys have trained yourselves not to pull the security card any longer. Because that card has been bullsh*t from the beginning. It is somewhat ironic that Apple makes itself more of a target for hackers to find these innumerable flaws by insisting that it control the platform. On the Android side, such incentives exist only in the realm of locked bootloaders, which are mostly on their way out.

RonMacGuy

Typical Bosco response. Ignore all the valid counterarguments to his original unsupported claim, then insert totally new argument completely unrelated to the current discussion. Bravo, jester, bravo.

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