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NPD: iPhone top-selling US phone, Android goes to newcomers

updated 10:35 am EST, Mon February 6, 2012

NPD Q4 2011 results show iPhone bounce back

The iPhone is now the top-selling cellphone of any kind in the US, the NPD Group determined on Monday. As of the fall, the iPhone 4S was the bestselling device in the field. Apple also managed a clean sweep of the top three, with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS at second and third places.

Android was led by the Galaxy S II in fourth, followed by the now somewhat aging Galaxy S 4G on T-Mobile. Individual Android model sales were hinted as being small: Apple sold 75 percent more iPhone 4S units than it did the iPhone 4 and five times more than the iPhone 3GS, suggesting that Android's share was only the aggregation of small sales from many models and companies rather than any clear leader.

The iPhone 4S launch helped Apple nearly reclaim balance in the US, at 43 percent of the fall's market share to Android's 48 percent. Google's core appeal was to newcomers who had never owned a smartphone: 57 percent of those buying their first such device were going for Android versus 34 percent for the iPhone. "Wide carrier support" and LTE were considered draws that were boosting share, although Android has also had more frequent instances of cheap or free-on-contract devices that Apple is only just exploring now with the iPhone 3GS.

With just nine percent buying a smartphone on another platform in the US, the fall left very little room for RIM's BlackBerry or Microsoft's Windows Phone to have a meaningful impact in 2012. It pointed to what could be an effective Android and iOS duopoly in the US with 68 percent of cellphones in the US now being smartphones. RIM won't have a direct answer to the two until the second half of the year, and whether or not the Nokia Lumia 900 will legitimize Windows Phone in the US is still uncertain, even with hundreds of millions of dollars of promised marketing.

by MacNN Staff



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