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ABI: Android has lost market share for first time

updated 11:10 am EST, Fri January 27, 2012

ABI says iPhone 4S rise led to Android loss

Apple's record iPhone sales have led to Android shrinking for the first time in its over three-year history, ABI Research estimated Friday. Operating on the belief that next-closest Samsung shipped 33 million smartphones, it had Android's collective share drop from 52.5 percent in the summer to 47 percent this fall. Apart from the iPhone 4S' launch effect, Android had 'sagging midsection' where LG, Motorola, and Sony had been fighting just to become profitable.

Huawei and ZTE were doing relatively well, but at 6.6 million and 4.5 million smartphones delivered, neither was major competition for Apple or Samsung.

Whether or not the reversal holds isn't definite. It could depend on whether or not iPhone 4S sales volume keeps up in the first post-launch quarter as well as the successes of any international expansion. Android isn't likely to bounce back, however, as most companies won't show their first 2012 devices until Mobile World Congress late next month and are unlikely to ship until at least the spring.

Nokia and Samsung were still in front for cellphones of any kind, although the decline of basic feature phones ended up helping not just Apple but RIM, who despite its smartphone share declines moved up from ninth to seventh among all cellphones.

by MacNN Staff



  1. sapridyne

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I hate it when... midsection sags.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I wonder

    How many unsold android phone they are right now in the distribution and retail channel. A few millions units for sure.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Channel glut for sure...

    There have to be millions of Android smartphones unsold in the channel. AT&T said 80% of the phones they moved were iPhones. There would have to be an awful lot of Android smartphones sitting somewhere. I'll bet the Android smartphone channel is bursting at the seams as so many Android smartphones are getting manufactured. Just a flattening of Android growth is going to leave a lot of those vendors struggling to move smartphones. Any major decline will be devastating. They'll be giving away Android smartphones left and right or just tossing them into landfill. I was in Target the other day and there were dozens and dozen of Android smartphones on display. No customers were even looking at them. I think the choice is just too large to make any meaningful decisions. How long can they hold onto those models before the next wave of Android smartphones come in? It'll be a neverending cycle of unsold Android smartphones unless they slow down their manufacturing or until half the Android vendors just quit making them.

    I recall when the Nokia store was in NYC and they had what seemed to be about a hundred models of feature phones and it was claimed that the huge choice really turned off customers trying to find a phone that matched their needs. The store eventually shut down due to lack of sales and what's happened to Nokia is a nightmare. I envision the same thing for many Android smartphone vendors trying to compete over scraps of market share or profits.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Happy to destroy each other

    Re: "Android had 'sagging midsection' where LG, Motorola, and Sony had been fighting just to become profitable"

    Some Fandroids may think that the Android manufacturers are united in a struggle against Apple. Well guess what. They're not. They're trying to kill each other off, because they're fighting over the same slice of the pie.

    And even worse news for Fandroids: the Android slice of the smartphone pie is starting to shrink. I wonder how many Android handset makers will spend more effort on their Windows Phone handsets starting this year. Samsung, HTC, ZTE, and others already have WP7 handset designs. WP7 and WP8 might be their competitive advantage over each other next year.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the problem with Android

    is that the wide variance in user experience with handsets rubs off on Android itself. If you can't afford the most expensive Android phones, you're likely going to have a subpar experience with crashes, battery life, crapware and the way the manufacturer implements the "open" OS.

    My g/f is on her third Droid and she's ready to throw in the towel and get an iPhone. Each and every one of those phones have sucked. I went to the Verizon store recently and asked them if there was ANY way to get her into a new Droid phone 3 months prior to the contract expiration, without paying through the nose. They said no way, absolutely not. I explained to them that if they wait until the contract's up, she's going to go iPhone. The clerk was sympathetic but couldn't do anything. Of course, they don't really care so long as she stays with Verizon.

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