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Android at 33% of US smartphone sales, leapfrogs Apple, RIM

updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed August 4, 2010

NPD says Droid, Droid Incredible tops in US

Android has overtaken not just the iPhone but the BlackBerry as the top-selling smartphone platform in the US, the NPD Group found on Wednesday. Exactly one third of all smartphones sold this spring were running Google's platform. Most of the losses came at RIM's expense, as it dropped to 28 percent. The iPhone 4 launch helped Apple gain share at 22 percent, but it wasn't enough to offset overall gains by Android.

Despite launch promotions, it was Motorola's soon to be discontinued original Droid that led Android sales. The HTC Droid Incredible's continued display shortages for much of the spring kept it from reaching its potential, but the Evo 4G was the third-strongest for similar reasons. The aging, related Hero and Droid Eris were fourth and fifth place.

Much of Android's success, and the BlackBerry's failure, could be directly attributed to Verizon. The one provider is responsible for a third of all smartphone sales in the country and is known to artificially pump the number of devices sold through its Buy One, Get One (BOGO) promos; the deal gives a similar or lesser device for free, including Android and BlackBerry devices. RIM's continued rises in phone shipments have been attributed to BOGO deals, but Verizon in the past year has deliberately downplayed the BlackBerry in favor of its Android line, giving HTC and Motorola much stronger promotion. Three out of the top five Android phones come from Verizon.

Google's ability to hold on to the American smartphone market isn't as certain. The spring quarter only saw a few days of iPhone 4 sales and didn't reflect the sustained extra demand during the summer. Prospects of a Verizon iPhone by January may further challenge Google, as it would no longer have the security of knowing that the iPhone would be unavailable beyond AT&T.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Verizon is a false hope

    just you wait, until iPhone 4 is released - except that didn't stem the tide, so now its:
    just you wait, until this is on Verizon too

    Except crunch the numbers, Verizons contract customer base isn't enough to change the fundamentals.

    Android is still a step ahead - on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-mobile, but also on smaller carrier like MetroCall - but now get this, charging ahead into the prepay market.

    Which means the milliions of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile prepay customers that Apple doesn't even acknowledge exist, are opening up to Android now.

    Verizon is important for Apple, but they will still be a step behind. The numbers just aren't there for Apple.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The numbers arent there

    @JT - you are right. The numbers arent there. But do they need to be?

    Android is an OS. A free one no less. Apple makes money from it's hardware sales. Market share doesn't matter much. Apple is selling out of it's products and making large sums of money. Thats the important thing here. Yes, Verizon would open up much more sales to them, but so far, I dont hear Apple complaining about sales at all :)

  1. zooachtiv

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Now the DOJ cant say "Apple is a monopoly". Too bad for Adobe... haha

  1. facebook_Richard

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2010


    Droid "Sales"

    Let's not forget how easy it is to capture 33% of the smartphone market when:

    1. You are on 4 carriers.
    2 These carriers offer 2 for 1 deals on Android phones.
    3. You are providing software for multiple hardware vendors.
    4. These multiple carriers essentially refresh your product offering every 30 days keeping you constantly in the media buzz.
    5. Deals for free Android phones like those by American Eagle ( are being offered up.

    Apple is competing against these factors while only offering essentially one device (though over 2 generations) on 1 US carrier (the most hated) and refreshing only once a year while not offering any free phone incentives and being both the hardware and software vendor.

    With these points in mind the #1 Android sales are not that impressive.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Excuses, excuses

    Of course, leave it for people to come up with reasons why this is happening that have nothing to do with merits of a device (because it can't be the device itself that is selling).

    But also keep in mind Apple once said they had no desire to be the market leader of smartphones. They'd be just as happy with a small piece of the pie. (Then again, I'm sure they said that because if the iPhone ended up just an Apple-niche market item, then people could go "Yeah, but that's what Apple wanted!" rather than say "Man, that iPhone flopped!")

  1. jreades

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That makes no sense

    Quote: "With these points in mind the #1 Android sales are not that impressive."

    Look, love it or hate it, the Android OS has gone from 0% to 33% of the US market in the *less* than two years (taking the 1.0 SDK release date of September 2008). That's bloody impressive in my book. Oh, and it works on CDMA and GSM phones (or, more to the point, is *available* on GSM and CDMA). Oh, and it's so cheap that people are willing to give it away on a phone with a pair of jeans!!!

    iPhone/iOS development has been just as impressive, albeit in a completely different way, but please don't tell me that Android's adoption-rate is 'unimpressive'.

  1. George3

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'll stay with Apple

    Apple is a better company than Google. Google is now a follower just like all the rest. If they weren't Apple would just now be releasing the iPhone and Google would have release Android four years ago.

    Google is following in the footsteps of Microsoft. Innovating AFTER Apple.

    Android say hello to a sea of virus.

  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Really who cares. Android is on 10 or more different devices. iOS is on one (two if you consider the storage capacity a completely separate device). Comparing the two is like comparing Microsoft Windows to OS X. The iPhone and iOS can't compete with Android and it's plethora of craptastic phones.

    iPhone and iOS are niche products, superior products, everyone knows that. That's why Apple sells 3 million iPhone's in one weekend and it takes Motorola a year to sell 3 million droids. This is exactly why the media frenzy around the antenna issue was blown out of proportion. Do people hold Samsung, HTC and Motorola to the same standards as they do Apple, no. If I buy a Moto product I expect to replace it within 8 months to a year. Why, because it either breaks or becomes completely obsolete.

    The iPhone is the best smartphone, that's why testudo and his pathetic cronies feel the need to post negative commentary on it. When your on top there will always be people who have nothing better to do than try to bring you down.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android vs. Apple vs. ??

    We must understand this is not Windows vs. Mac back in the 1990s. Back then, applications were the key. Desktop applications were complex and took a lot of resources to develop. That meant developers wanted to develop only on as few platforms as possible. Once Windows was in the lead, developers stopped developing for the Mac. As there were fewer and fewer applications, more people bought Windows machines. As more people bought Windows, more and more developers dropped Mac versions of their software. It got to the point that even Adobe was putting out their Mac versions a year or two behind their Windows platform.

    What saved Apple wasn't Steve Jobs return (although that did help a great deal). What really saved Apple was the rise of the Internet and specifically the World Wide Web. Applications started to lose their importance as more and more people depended upon Internet applications like email and web browsing.

    That meant as long as Apple had some basic applications such as word processing, Quicken, etc., and Apple created decent Internet clients such as and Safari, more people would consider a Mac even though the preponderance of software was for Windows. You can see this by the number of home PCs being bought without Microsoft Office. Most people buy PCs without Microsoft Office which would have been unheard of just a decade ago when almost all PCs and Macs came with Office.

    The Android vs. iOS debate is very different. Applications for these devices are much easier to program which means most companies will be more than happy to develop apps for both platforms even if one has a much smaller market share. Plus, as long as these devices have the standard applications (Email, Notes, Contacts, Calendar) and a decent web browser, both platforms are considered viable.

    Apple made a mistake by signing a five year exclusive agreement with AT&T. Maybe that was the only way Apple could design an iPhone that it wanted, but that agreement made Verizon look for an iPhone alternative. If it wasn't for Verizon, the Android Platform would be much, much smaller. Verizon created the Droid brand and pushed Google, Motorola, and HTC to produce products that could compete against the iPhone. Now, that the Droid is a viable alternative, I'm not so sure Verizon wants the iPhone.

    By the way Verizon and not Google is now in control of Android. Verizon is pushing Google in its development of Android. I suspect that Verizon will open its own VCast Android market, and I suspect that once that is successful, it may close off the Android Marketplace. Why let Google get all the ad and app sales profits?

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's only temporary. Of course you can give more crappy products away for free than trying to sell something that works.

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