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Nielsen: Android just past iPhone in US market share

updated 12:05 pm EST, Thu March 3, 2011

Android passes iPhone, BlackBerry in Nielsen share

Android has finally claimed a lead over other smartphone platforms in the US, Nielsen determined on Thursday. Between November and January, Android broke a three-way deadlock and claimed 29 percent of the US smartphone market, just ahead of the iPhone and BlackBerry tied at 27 percent. All of Microsoft's platforms combined were a distant third at 10 percent.

The company also gave a rare glimpse into the individual hardware manufacturers for platforms that aren't completely controlled by the OS designer. HTC was the most successful of these by being successful in more than one platform: it was the top Android manufacturer at 12 percent of the total smartphone arena, and dominated both Windows Phone and Windows Mobile with seven percent of the overall smartphone field. A tenth of all smartphones were Motorola Android devices, but Motorola's exit from Microsoft and the resulting punitive Microsoft lawsuit were apparent as just one percent of US smartphones were Motorola's old Windows Mobile hardware.

Samsung was the last significant player in either Android or Windows, having five percent of Google's OS and just two percent of Microsoft platforms. WebOS was four percent and Nokia's Symbian had a total of two percent.

The figures, while representing a milestone for Android, might shift wildly in the next Nielsen study. Its demographics stopped just before the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 in February. The network has only so far said that iPhone sales are good, but anecdotal results have hint that many are switching from Android or BlackBerry as they were either frustrated with their existing choice or had only bought something else while waiting for Apple.

Motorola, Verizon's preferred manufacturer until Apple arrived, has said it saw sales slow down once Verizon subscribers became convinced and were eventually told the iPhone was reaching their carrier.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jvanart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's "passed"...

    But I am one of the ones that bought a Droid2 while waiting for Apple to come to Verizon. I am glad to have had the Android experience. It has given me a lot of perspective on the "debate" over iOS and Android, and Blackberry for that matter--I had a Curve before that. I must admit that I miss the customization of my Droid, and some of the fun software, but with it came a TON of frustration (syncing, etc) that I just don't have anymore on my iPhone4. My phone has gone back to being a tool for my business that works. Plain and simple.

  1. bigmig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Really need to be on all 4 carriers...

    Even if iPhone outsells Android 3-to-1 on ATT and VZW (which I think is conceivable, though on the high side), they would still only split the overall US market 50/50 with Android because Android will get all sales on Sprint and T-Mo. That's just how the math works out.

    The only way iPhone can regain a decisive lead over Android in the US is if (more likely, when) they come to all four carriers.

  1. MadGoat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not hard to see it coming

    When you have dozens of models and most of them "free with a contract", it's not hard to beat them in OS market share.

    Now, show me 1 of the Android models that's surpassing the iPhone in market share. So while a half dozen or more manufacturers are picking at the 29% , Apple is enjoying 27% to itself.

    So in my view Apple is still winning.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Apple "Unibody" chart

    The more interesting thing to me is the Apple block is basically 1 device, ONE PHONE, is that entire block of color! As opposed to the blocks for Android, RIM, HTC, etc. each of which are comprised of multiple devices. That's Apple bringing their philosophy of simplicity (as in their minimalist design and unibody construction) into business terms. With that kind of unparalleled effectiveness and success they don't need to lead in units.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's working boys!

    By giving away Android for free and not making any direct money from it, we can win market share and brag about it around the world. So what if every POS manufacturer uses it, we win because we can brag about it.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If or when the iPhone

    is available on all 4 major cellular networks and Android still beats the iPhone in marketshare, what excuses will you have then??

    Cheaper phones?
    That doesn't wash.

    Previous gen or refurbished iPhones can be bought for really really cheap.

    Android is free?
    That's a poor excuse.

    The people that buy Android phones are all on welfare?
    Yeah maybe...

    Besides, who cares about market share anyways? Everyone knows the iPhone is a better phone.
    macnn seems to care.

  1. Greengo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not because of Consumer demand...

    Android is gaining share because of Companies adding/switching to Android for their products...basically Motorola is a well known Cellphone maker and were popular with many people liking their phones all before of course when a large company decides to switch most of their phones to instantly makes Android gain market share. It's not as if Motorola would have simply dropped off the map if they came out with their own iOS clone. Same goes for Samsung. It's exactly what's going to happen to Windows Phone market share once Nokia starts rolling them out. It's because a large company decides to switch...not by customer demand. The Market share for the iPhone is customer driven, people wanted the iPhone. The argument can be many people are buying Moto phones because they always liked Moto phones or because Moto now uses Android?? Yes some have Win phones too, but they don't really advertise these. Moto really pushed the Droid phones..and Android is as close to iOS as you're going to get.

  1. redcapzero

    Joined: Dec 1969



    keep on beating that sad 'ol horse; (''til your thumbs bleed).

  1. facebook_Omega

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011



    You are not the only one here who gets it. These are all apple heads on this site so I expect nothing less from them. But is nice to know that someone else here sees the forest beyond the trees.

  1. facebook_Omega

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011


    Android FTW

    This is just to kick the hornets nest in here!

    Android is already winning so this is just redundant. But in reality there is no winning or losing here. We consumers are the winners, all around. Apple fans now get better apple products as a response to the perceived Android "threat," and vise verse for Android fans. BB fans now have more choices, and nokia fans are just SOL! ;P

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