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Android may now be largest smartphone platform in US

updated 09:40 am EDT, Mon August 2, 2010

Android said to have 34pc US market share

Android has overtaken BlackBerry and iPhone sales to hold the largest share of the smartphone market in the US, Canalys argued today. Collectively, the sales from HTC, Motorola and smaller Android producers amounted to 34 percent of American smartphones in the spring, or just enough to edge out RIM's 32.1 percent and Apple's 21.7 percent. HTC's Droid Incredible, Evo 4G and other devices accounted for the largest slice at 14.4 percent, with Motorola, LG and others taking smaller pieces.

Android as a whole grew almost nine times larger compared to its still fledgling position a year ago; shipments expanded 886 percent worldwide and 851 percent in the US. Until this summer, Samsung and Sony Ericsson were significant factors in Android sales, but only outside of the US. In China, Android still has a much tougher road ahead as Nokia dominates the market at 76.9 percent where Motorola has just 4.7 percent, but China Mobile's decision to back Android through its custom Open Mobile System variant gives it an effectively government-backed assist.

Motorola is due to get a significant uptick in US market share this summer as the Droid X and Droid 2 will be Verizon's headlining models.

Apple's growth is still significant, but many now believe the company's exclusivity deal with AT&T has become a liability in the US. With the safety of knowing the iPhone wouldn't be available on other major networks, Google has made Android the premier smartphone platform at Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, in many cases pushing the BlackBerry aside. The situation may change within the next half year as rumors of Verizon iPhones by next year and T-Mobile this fall could undermine Android, whether through carrier-loyal customers who would now have an iPhone option or customers who want an iPhone but are determined to avoid AT&T at all costs.

by MacNN Staff



  1. ruel24

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More reason for Apple to open up...

    This is more reason for Apple to open up to multiple carriers - particularly Verizon. I'm sure the single carrier distribution model worked at first, but now, it's working against them.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If only they could make them faster...

    That is simply not correct. There are no iPhones sitting in the warehouse today. Apple is selling every single one they can make. In other words, AT&T is clearly not the obstacle; manufacturing is. If Apple could make even more iPhones, they'd sell even more iPhones; it's that simple.

    Android is used by many manufacturers, and each of them individually has significantly lower market share than Apple. Combined, they have strong numbers. Those number don't carry much meaning for anyone involved (except, to certain extent, Apple and MS, makers of competing mobile OSs), because Google isn't selling the OS; it's giving it away. Therefore, large numbers of Android phones can attract more developers away from competing platforms (iOS), as long as the Android platform is unified. However, it is not, and an interesting data point would be to find out how many of those Android phones are running pre- 2.0 version of the OS (or, what is the market share of different versions of the OS, compared with the iPhone and its own different versions of the OS).

    When we keep in mind that, as a platform, iOS has iPod touch and iPad (in addition to the iPhone), Apple need not worry about developers' loyalty.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all over but the crying

    As long as Steve Jobs is in charge, they are going to model themselves after Sony.

    A high end brand, capable of generating profits and margins, but not designed to compete across the whole spectrum of the market.

    Oh wee, going from AT&T to Verizon - like that's going to make the difference. That still leaves out major carriers like Sprint and T-mobile.

    Even if they get all the majors, that leaves out all the minor carriers. Even if they get all the majors and all the minors - they don't market to all the customers of those major and minor carriers - a huge number of even AT&T's customers are on prepaid - and there is no iPhone for prepaid.

    You all are so singularly focused on a Verizon deal, that you don't get it - it fundamentally doesn't change anything.

    Apple is a niche market player, because Steve Jobs is guiding the company - and he believes in the niche market play.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple is selling iPhones faster than

    Foxconn can build them. It doesn't matter how many Android smartphones are being sold. Google doesn't make a cent from them. Apple is clearly making decent money from selling what it has. Another carrier in the U.S. is merely icing on the cake. There is absolutely no rush as long as the iPhone stays in favor to consumers. Guaranteed, that whenever another carrier comes on board in the U.S., many Android smartphone users will dump them and buy an iPhone. For Apple, the iPhone is a core business. I'm certain Apple knows what it is doing. It doesn't matter how large demand is if you can't supply the goods. There are dozens of Android-running smartphones from multiple vendors to Apple's one or two iPhone variations. Apple doesn't need to compete on the same level of quantity and price. Apple will sell what iPhones they have and make plenty of money. With limited supply, greater demand doesn't mean a thing. Some analysts even make huge supply backlog seem like a drawback.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. hleejpn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    There is a reason for that!

    We all know why the PC market is skewed - PCs have less than half the life of Macs so it takes two or more PCs to equal 1 Mac in terms of length of service. Therefore the sales and market share is skewed. No one looks at "installed base", as they "should".

    The same principle applies to the smartphone market. Have any of you noticed surveys lately and people who will switch on the next phone. 1% or 2% of iPhone users will buy a xDroid (or other) the next time. 30% or more of xDroid will buy an iPhone. ON top of this, a higher percentage of xDroid phone users switch, swap, change often. iPhone users don't. So the bottom line is xDroid will can show a 2 to 1 sales advantage while the installed base will show to the iPhones advantage.

    Skewed! What the "skewed" data really shows is the dis-satisfaction of the xDroid state by Apple hateboy fans. So, musical chairs on non-Apple phones.

    On a couple of other non-tech forums that I frequent, many of the xDroid, RIM and Symbian users change phones often, driving the sales figures up because they can't stand the phone they have for more than a few months to a year at the most. Constantly up(cross)grading to other xDroid (and others) because they don't want to go to the iPhone/Apple. You don't see this with the iPhone but the reporters sure point the finger at the "sales" that is driven by the "musical chair" of the Apple hateboy folks.

  1. George3

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nonsensical comparison

    Since Android is free what difference does it make how many people use it as far as income goes. Apple makes more money off of the iPhones than Google does and comparatively more money than the individual companies that sell Android phones.

    Apple is still WAY ahead. My money stays with Apple.

  1. hleejpn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Usage Share

    "In more good news for Apple, the iPhone grew usage share at over twice the pace of Android."


  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And Besides ...

    ... everyone wants that rootkit app for the xDroid.

  1. jreades

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Quote: "Some analysts even make huge supply backlog seem like a drawback."

    Er, that's because it is. It means that Apple is currently not capturing a part of the market that it *could* capture if supply were keeping up. Presumably those people aren't saying "Well, I guess I'll just get by without a mobile phone for the next six months then."

    Which means that they will buy *something* even if it's not their first choice. And from Apple's standpoint you've now got a customer locked into a 1-2 year contract with someone *else*. And those people might well discover that Android gives them 95% of an iPhone's functionality for 50% of the price of an iPhone (which is pretty much what I found even though I'd never use anything but a Mac in the rest of my work/life).

    This isn't an issue while the market for all smartphones is expanding, but once you reach saturation then you're more likely to end up with whatever market share you were able to build in the run-up to that period. Let's look at it this way: the past ten years of Apple's astonishing run of breakout computers (iMacs, iBooks, TiBooks, etc.) has managed to lift their total market share by about 5-7%, while in the past four years their share of the phone market has grown astronomically (can't be bothered to look those numbers up right now).

    There was a lot of stupid c**p spouted about growth at any cost during the era, but it wasn't without an underlying logic.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Which one of these is not the same

    So I look at that list and I see two actual companies RIM and Apple; and they produce both hardware and software. Then I see some other name "Android" that isn't even a company and doesn't even make a device.
    Measuring strictly the merits of a platform, obviously Android has the advantage by only being a platform and nothing else. However, I think Apple and RIM are following the wiser philosophy of "If you really care about making good software, then you need to make good hardware too" and vice versa. I believe the more technology advances, the more (not less) the two depend on each other.

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