NPD: iPhone & Android on the Rise, RIM Falling

Based on the latest studies from the research organization NPD Group, Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platform are gaining in U.S. smartphone marketshare while RIM’s BlackBerry continues its steady decline. Apple, according to the study, controlled 29 percent of the smartphone market in the June quarter, while the combined Android devices from all manufacturers accounted for 52 percent of the market.

iPhone 4Apple’s iPhone 4 held 29% of the June smartphone market

RIM’s BlackBerry dropped down to only 11 percent of the market, and Microsoft’s mobile Windows platforms, along with the HP’s crumbling webOS, each made up less than five percent of the market.

Android’s market growth has the potential to grow even more, especially now that Google is in the process of purchasing Motorola Mobility.

“Google’s acquisition of Motorola shifts the balance of power in the handset-patent conflict between Google and its operating system competitors,” commented NPD’s executive director of industry analysis  Ross Rubin. “Android’s momentum has made for a large pie that is attractive to Motorola’s Android rivals, even if they must compete with their operating system developer.

Google surprised analysts last week with the announcement that it struck a US$12.5 billion deal to buy Motorola Mobility. The deal gives Google Motorola’s mobile device lineup, along with over 17,000 patents it can use to bolster the legal defense of the Android platform.

While Android’s higher marketshare may make it look as if Apple can’t keep up in the smartphone game, the iPhone is selling well in the U.S. and around the world. The numbers also account for multiple companies producing Android devices, while only Apple makes the iPhone.

The numbers also show there’s still room to grow in the smartphone market since both iOS and Android percentages are on the rise. The number of feature phone users that can potentially switch to smartphones is still high enough to give both platforms more growing room, too.

NPD’s study included smartphone buyers 18 years old and older, and did not account for corporate or enterprise smartphone sales.