NPD: Android OS Passes iPhones OS for U.S. Market Share

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Google’s Android smartphone operating system has passed Apple’s iPhone OS to become the number two smartphone OS in the U.S. market, according to research firm NPD. The company announced Monday that in the first quarter of 2010, Research In Motion (RIM) had 36% of the U.S. smartphone market for the top slot, Android OS had 28% for number two, and that iPhone OS was the number three OS in the U.S. with 21% of the market.

NPD’s breakdown was by OS, and not manufacturer, meaning that all of the vendors manufacturing Android OS devices were lumped together. iPhone OS and BlackBerry devices are each manufactured by only one company (Apple and RIM, respectively). This metric is just as important when judging the health and direction of an overall platform as individual vendor sales are for judging the performance of those companies.

NPD pointed out that Verizon has increased its sales of smartphones by offering a buy-one-get-one-free promotion for all of its smartphones, including Android OS devices made by Motorola, HTC, and others.

“As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share,” Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, said in a statement. “In order to compete with the iPhone, Verizon Wireless has expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones.”

Each of those free devices counts towards overall market share of the OS that powers them just as much as the paid for device.

NPD’s numbers add color to global market share numbers for Q1 2010 released last week by competing research firm IDC. According to that company, Apple was the #3 manufacturer of smartphones with 16.1% of the global smartphone market. I the global market Nokia still reigns supreme, with RIM occupying the number two slot.

Comments

ipaqrat

I wonder if there will/would be a snap-back were the iPhone to go live on Verizon. I got hands on a HTC incredible the other day - it is quite good superficially.

Lee Dronick

it is quite good superficially.

Great statement! Can you elaborate on its superficiality?

Tiger

So much hay will be made of this, and of course you can do all SORTS of things with statistics. But as long as everybody remembers

1. buy one get one free doubles (and artificially inflates) your sales numbers
2. The OS is on many phone handsets, hence the plurality
3. Apple has all of 3 models of iPhone and sells the hardware AND software
4. It’s in Apple’s best interest at this point to remain status quo at about 15% of the market for smartphones. Too many sharks circling in the water.
5. Next model refresh is the end of June (approx) and a LOT of AT&T customers reach the 18 month upgrade eligibility within 60 days either side of that time frame. Sales are gonna skyrocket come July.

craigf

What a bunch of click-bait BS! So far roughlydrafted.com is only site I’ve found that actually analyzes this misleading claim.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Heh.

mjkphoto

Recents reports state that Apple entered into a five-year exclusivity deal with AT&T, meaning those of us on Verizon must wait until 2012 for an iPhone. I would have an iPhone now if it were on Verizon, but there’s no way I’m switching to AT&T to get one. So I wait or get an Android. Apple may have done its competitors a favor by handcuffing itself to AT&T.

401k

Recents reports state that Apple entered into a five-year exclusivity deal with AT&T, meaning those of us on Verizon must wait until 2012 for an iPhone. I would have an iPhone now if it were on Verizon, but there?s no way I?m switching to AT&T to get one. So I wait or get an Android. Apple may have done its competitors a favor by handcuffing itself to AT&T.

I hope Verizon never gets the iPhone.  Verizon is the most horrendous provider out there.

MacGnome

I really hope Android OS gets as good as Apple iPhone.

If Android continuously gets better, so much the better for us iPhone OS users.

It gives the Apple iPhone team some competition and a competitive target to aim for.

And in the long run, Apple may lower their prices.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@MacGnome. Android OS is better at many things than iPhone. Notifications, voice transcribed email, Marketplace approvals, music player to name a few. iPhone still excels in others, like voice commands. Android will have Flash (and Flash-sourced AIR applications), iPhone won’t.

Android went from about 0 to caught up in under 7 months because it’s already “good enough” and can leverage lower costs and lower friction all the way up and down the supply chain.

With Flash and AIR, along with larger screens than most of the BlackBerry lineup, Android phones will become the premier mobile gaming platform for social and brain-teaser games (Scrabble, Sudoku), as well as light video games (e.g. DoodleJump). It’s simple development economics, and will drive end-user adoption. Sure, there will 10x as much crappy software as on iPhone, but from that giant crap heap will emerge the unexpected killer apps that the iPhone development economy would just as soon choke off with onerous content and tools restrictions and the uncertainty that comes with them.

It didn’t have to end up this way. You can all thank Saint Steven for the outcome. The rest of the market doesn’t like his douchie “not invented here” attitude.

ctopher

I expect Android to far exceed the iPhone OS in the smartphone market. It’s cheaper and gets the job done. Kinda like Windows. You can be the market leader in terms of units or the market leader in terms of ease of use.

I played with a Droid Extreme and it was very cool. (I’m not an iPhone or RIM or anything user, so it doesn’t take much to impress me.) I’m sure it will fit the bill for most people for a variety of reasons principle among them, cost.

But that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t make gobs and gobs of cash on it’s own products. Apple was never in the largest market share race. Their goals were in the largest mind-share, highest quality, and more importantly, the highest margin arenas. Now I may not care about the last (except as a shareholder), but I may be willing to begrudge them their margin if the experience is worth it.

It has been with their desktops and laptops, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be with their mobile platforms as well.

So I see this as a non-news item. It will become news if we see a slowdown or reversal of Apple’s profits from this market that is not reflected in the market as a whole.

So yes, I think the Android OS is good competition and it may in fact keep Apple on it’s toes. But so far I see Apple leading the charge rather than trying to keep up. But their lead is not in unit sale, rather its in end-user experience. Do it right and customers will give them their margin.

Lee Dronick

Well said ctopher

ctopher

Oh and Sir Flashman always makes me laugh. His humor must be similar to mine because he rarely fires off a dud. (Which I do more often than I’m comfortable with.)

Keep your mind sharp Sir Harry! You’re a reason I keep coming back!

EDIT:
Honestly, this post crossed with Sir Harry’s above. I was not responding to it. But it does seem to be in the theme of the mutual admiration society. I appreciate the kind words.

Lee Dronick

Oh and Sir Flashman always makes me laugh. His humor must be similar to mine because he rarely fires off a dud. (Which I do more often than I?m comfortable with.)

Thanks ctopher

cb50dc

Oh and Sir Flashman always makes me laugh. His humor must be similar to mine because he rarely fires off a dud.

Sir Harry, I think you’d probably win the TMO Forum Mr. Congeniality award. How about the swimsuit competition?

Lee Dronick

Swimsuit competition? No, I would lose points there, I am another middle-aged guy (with eyesight to prove it) and in fact am bordering on old fart. smile

I have not yet tried any Android phones so I can not make a comparison between them and the iPhone. I guess I should ask around among my friends and see if anyone has one.

How do you synch Android phones with your address book, calendar, and such?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Sir Harry: Missing Sync for Android will do the job wonderfully, including wirelessly, if you like your Mac applications for those things. I’m growing fond of the Google online solutions, privacy concerns aside. The point is that because it’s open, it can work the way you want it to work.

Lee Dronick

Thanks Bosco. When my wife a TREO I had her set up to use Missing Synch, it was much better than the Palm software.

deasys

Google?s Android smartphone operating system has passed Apple?s iPhone OS

That is not what the survey said! It said that the unit sales of Android OS-based devices has passed iPhone unit sales. It’s so misleading.

In other words, they’re comparing two different things.

NPD should either compare model/type sales or platform sales, i.e. for the latter, they’d have to include iPod touch unit sales (and, in the future, iPad unit sales).

Bryan, your article should be amended.

deasys

Android OS is better at many things than iPhone. Notifications, voice transcribed email, Marketplace approvals, music player to name a few

Unlike the iPhone, Android-based phones don?t provide a global near realtime notifications system. There is no approvals system in the Android Marketplace nor is there universal inclusion of a Marketplace app on all Android-based devices.

And tens of millions of iPod users would disagree with your contention that the Android?s music player implementation is better that the iPhone?s iPod.

Android will have Flash (and Flash-sourced AIR applications)

By the time (if ever) Adobe gets a working version of Flash for mobile devices it will no longer be relevant. Here?s the current status:

On The Android Flash Demo At Flashcamp?Seattle

Nookster

On The Android Flash Demo At Flashcamp?Seattle

The 10.1 demo vid down the page was pretty impressive, better than I thought it would be.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Flash 10.1 on Froyo (Android 2.2).

@deasys: I have more iPods than fingers, including 2 touches and an iPhone GS. Music and podcast management is far better on Android 2.1. Two examples: (1) You can turn any song into a ringtone. (2) You can actually create real playlists on device, name them, edit them, etc.

With 3rd party software that was never and would never be considered for “blocking because it dupicates functionality”, you can do lots more interesting things with your music on device, including make ringtones from portions of songs.

It is so funny to see the fanboys who’ve never tried the alternative circle the wagons this week. I am sure that if half of you tried Android for a week, you’d wonder why Apple stupidifies many features of the iPhone, and it would make you sad.

deasys

Bosco, the iPod allows one to create On-The-Go playlists. They can be saved/renamed in iTunes. Also, any song (or portion) can be turned into a ringtone on the iPhone.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So to rename a playlist, you have to sync with iTunes? Wow, that’s clumsy. What does it cost to turn any song (or portion) into a ringtone on iPhone using iTunes?

deasys

What does it cost to turn any song (or portion) into a ringtone on iPhone using iTunes?

Nothing:

http://lifehacker.com/334073/create-custom-iphone-ringtones-the-free-and-apple-way

Anyway, now that we’ve got a discussion going, maybe you can tell me when Android will provide a universal copy/paste function. How about an ‘Update All’  capability for Marketplace apps? How about system-wide push messaging and hardware encryption?

deasys

Also, why on the Android does “universal” search not search e-mail? Why can’t you access and use apps while using the phone function? Why is it limited to just 3 apps panels (vs. 11 on the iPhone)?

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