Android Overtakes iPhone in U.S. Smartphone Market

Google’s Android OS surpassed Apple’s iPhone in the U.S. smartphone for the first time in December, according to a report issued Monday by comScore. The firm said that RIM retained its #1, but that it lost share to Android and iPhone. Apple gained share, bot not enough to maintain its lead over Google, which is the new #2.

All told, Research In Motion had 31.6% share (down from 37.3%), Android had 28.7% share (up from 21.4%), and Apple had 25% (up from 24.3%). Microsoft was a distant #4, with 8.4%, losing share from the 9.9% it held in the prior quarter despite the release of the company’s new smartphone OS, Windows Phone 7.

comScore Chart

Source: comScore

The company’s data also found that some 63.2 million Americans own smartphones, a 7.3% increase from the prior quarter, and a 60% increase year-over-year.

We should note that this report specifically concerned smartphones, which was why we specified iPhone, rather than iOS, which includes iPod touch and iPads. While many Apple and iOS fans may want to include the other iOS devices when comparing market share, industry watchers are far more prone to categorizing and segmenting markets among much more stringent lines, in this case the smartphone market.

Android’s rise has been meteoric, and we’ve long expected numbers like this to show how the Android platform as a whole, which is comprised of a score or more devices, had finally surpassed the iPhone for total users. Now that this threshold has been crossed, all eyes will be on how a second carrier in the U.S. affects sales in this market.