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NPD: Android now outselling iPhone in the US

updated 10:20 am EDT, Mon May 10, 2010

Apple allegedly slipping to 3rd place

Android phones may be outselling the iPhone in the US for the first time, according to new NPD data. In the first quarter of the year, Google-based phones like the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris helped bump Android up to 28 percent of the market where Apple's phone mustered just 21 percent. RIM's BlackBerries were relatively safe but dropped to 36 percent, down 6 percent.

Much of the gain is attributed to Verizon, whose success with the Droid line as well as its Buy One Get One promos helped keep its smartphone sales very close to AT&T's even with the iPhone in place. AT&T was still the leader thanks to Apple with 32 percent of all US smartphone sales, but Verizon was just behind at 30 percent. T-Mobile and Sprint were left taking just half as many customers each at 17 and 15 percent respectively.

The popularity of smartphones helped raise the average price of all phones year-over-year to $88, but rapid cost cutting brought the price of a smartphone down slightly to $151 over the same period.

NPD's data isn't necessarily reflective of absolute share as it's based on 150,000 responses to its panel, which requires sign-ups and may skew towards more technically inclined users. However, it may reflect the sheer numerical advantage Android has over the iPhone in both customer reach and devices. Where the iPhone is by its nature limited to one company and still has a US exclusive with one carrier, Android is available on all four majors and usually with more than one phone design at each carrier.

As a consequence, Android has had a seemingly quicker update schedule, as phones like the Nexus One and Droid Incredible are now potentially faster than the iPhone 3GS and have features it doesn't, such as higher resolution cameras and sharper screens.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh, my goodness. That's it for the iPhone...

    To bad that Google is making ZERO revenue from the fact. Google's whole strategy of Android was to make tons of ad revenue, but I doubt if that's going well at all with AdMob sort of tied up at the moment.

  1. Zeeb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Apple's yearly updates aren't gonna cut it for much longer. They are gonna need to move to every 6 months to keep up.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Goodbye iPhone

    So much for that UI/OS 5 year head start. Everyone has copied it already and putting out phones with more spec and a good enough copy of the UI.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not the end of the iPhone.

    This is not Windows vs. Mac wars. Having a smaller, but significant slice of the market isn't a platform killer. I suspect that the iPhone itself is the best selling phone, but the fact you have a dozen Android models means that the Android platform itself has more market share.

    However, mobile apps are a bit easier to write and maintain that desktop apps, so many companies will be building apps for both platforms. This is unlike the Mac/Windows war where companies only had the resources to support a single platform and chose the bigger one.

    Also remember that 90% of the functionality is in the built in apps. Email, Web browsing, Note taking, etc. That's what makes people buy these phones.

    Still, Apple has to get on the ball a bit. Once where there was no competition, there's now a lot of it. Apple has shown some savvy with its updates, and I suspect that Apple will now split the platform vs. OS updates into separate events: One will take place in June, and one in January. Plus, we'll see some minor updates moved throughout the year.

    One of the advantages of Android is that they have a dozen manufacturers who can announce new phones at almost any time. Of course, that's their big disadvantage: You announce an update, and get trumped a few weeks later by your competitor who had a special "in" with Google.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Now that was a good laugh for Monday

    Did you know that GM sells more cars than the Ford focus...!!!!!!!! I guess Ford is dead. :-)

    Android is software. It runs on many phones, at all different levels of Android.... 1.0, 1.2,.1.5,.2.0..... etc

    THe guys that sell Android do not improve their phones, they just sell you ANOTHER NEWER phone... Again, and again, and again,...

    Apple has improved their phone... going from the original "E" version, to 3G to 3GS... But the software flows down to the bottom phone..... so they all get better.

    Just a thought here, but you really need to compare Apples to..... well apples. :-)And if you love Android so much... tell me how many Android phones run FLASH?

    Just a thought here.


  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Now that Android has somewhat matured and HP is dumping massive resources into WebOS, it may be time for Apple to think about winning hearts and minds again, and allowing iPhone users to install the apps they want to install, even those which carriers and other partners may not particularly like, as Android and WebOS users are able to do.

    Of course the yearly iPhone release cycle is a big factor, and it can be expected that the product will do relatively poorly at the end of its cycle, but that's also what makes the iPhone so incredibly profitable for Apple. A possible solution to this may be for Apple to have two radically different iPhone models serving different markets, and have the release cycles staggered by six months. The other alternative would be to release a new model every eight months instead of twelve, take a hit in profitability, and still be able to line up with people's two-year plan refreshes, now every three phone models instead of two. Overall, this problem is somewhat mitigated by the attraction of iPhone OS app availability and the iPhone's brand strength, so it may not be the most important issue to address.

    The other obvious factor is the exclusive carrier agreement with AT&T in the US, with Verizon pouring marketing money into Android to counter Apple's iPhone. Apple is leaving the door wide open for competitors to establish themselves with people who prefer other carriers for various reasons, giving a great boost to Android device vendors. Ending this exclusive distribution agreement as soon as possible seems like the most obvious answer to this competitive pressure.

    Personally, I recommend people get Android phones because I'm fearful of the power Apple wields over its users (namely me, making me jailbreak my iPhone to run valuable applications that Apple won't allow for whatever reason), and I need credible competition to keep that power in check. I think many technophiles are rooting for and promoting competitors, even if they use iPhones themselves, simply due to Apple's repression of user empowerment with iPhone OS devices. I honestly believe that loosening the reigns on their iPhone OS users would afford Apple a whole lot more goodwill with geeks, and remove many of the reservations they have recommending iPhones to people. Making the iPhone more geek-friendly should obviously not be done at the expense of usability for non-geeks, but the value of courting this class of users is to be ignored at Apple's peril, as these are the users who people trust to guide their purchasing decisions.

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Understand the Appeal of Android

    I'm as much an Apple fanboy as the rest but iPhone OS 4 is a MEH! update from what we can see.

    There's nothing new, groundbreaking, or even an extension of the current iPhone.

    Have been looking at the new Androids (Droid, Eris, Incredible) and even the new Sprint EVO and they all look much better than what we've seen in OS4.

    I'd love a customizable lock screen, widget system, etc but none of those seem to be in 4.0. Heck, even the cool functionality for my car (Ford with Sync) is coming to Android and Blackberry before the iPhone.

    Apple really needs to step up the game or my next phone will not be an iPhone. Shame too as it's a great platform.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Life cycles

    I'm still using my 1st generation iPhone. I won't buy one now due to seeing the excellent phone Apple will likely release in June (thanks Gizmodo). Note the language: Android phones, Blackberry phones versus THE iPhone. While I think upgrades would be better every 6 months (although I can't upgrade anymore), I also think the iPhone will be just fine once the new phone hits.

  1. YangZone

    Joined: Dec 1969


    About to follow the Macintosh?

    Is this a repeat of the Macintosh fall? Walls up around themselves to limit innovation? Pricing themselves out of the market... is the game up *again*? Or will Apple wake up to reality this time, start to actually use their competitors products, and $ee why people want them.

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not surprising

    Now is always the dead time of the year for the iPhone. Everybody expects one to come out, ESPECIALLY the tech savvy, so they will wait til June to buy. So let's see this survey in 6 months.

    Andriod is still not a great UI, no where near the iPhones.

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