comScore: Apple & Google Gain Smartphone Subscriber Share

Research firm comScore has released a new report for the three months ending in August, 2012, that show Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms consolidating their lead in the smartphone market. Both platforms gained share at the expense of all other U.S. players. Apple also gained share in total mobile subscribers, while arch rival Samsung was flat, and LG and Motorola Mobility lost share.

comScore's measurement is of subscribers—that is, phones in use, as opposed to sales of new devices. Those two data sets can diverge according to how long devices remain in use, a metric that frequently benefits Apple as its devices stay in use longer than competing devices.

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According to the report, 116.5 million U.S. consumers owned smartphones during the three months ending August 12th, 2012. That's up 6 percent from the three month period ending May 12th.

As shown in the chart below, Google's Android platform remained the #1 platform with 52.6 percent of the market, up from 50.9 percent in the prior period, a gain of 1.7 percent. Apple also remained firmly in the #2 spot with 34.3 percent, a slightly larger increase than Android of 2.5 percent.

comScore Smartphone Subscriber Share

Chart by The Mac Observer from comScore data

Woe be to all other comers, as RIM saw its share drop 3.1 percent to 8.2 percent. Microsoft, which is hoping to claw out a foothold with Windows Phone 8, dropped from 4 percent to 3.6 percent, and the now discontinued Symbian OS (Nokia) dropped to an insignificant 0.7 percent of the smartphone market.

Mobile Subscribers

The broader mobile market includes all handsets, both smartphones and so-called feature phones. While Apple doesn't offer a feature phone, the iPhone maker was still the #3 device maker in the U.S. market, with 17.1 percent of mobile subscribers. As shown in the chart below, that's an increase of 2.1 percent from the prior period, an interesting increase considering that sales of new iPhones slowed during the period as consumers awaited the iPhone 5.

comScore Mobile Data

Chart by The Mac Observer from comScore data

The only other firm to gain share in the U.S. was HTC, whose share increased 0.2 percent to 6.3 percent. Top dog Samsung was flat, while LG dipped to 18.2 percent and Motorola—which is now owned by Google—slipped to 11.2 percent.