Android Poised For Strong Q4 Share Gains
By Joseph Palenchar On Nov 8 2010 - 6:01am
NEW YORK —
Android smartphones made strong
gains in third-quarter smartphone share
among U.S. consumers and are poised for
further gains now that a variety of entrylevel
handsets have been launched at price
points down to $9.99.
Android’s third-quarter gains in consumers’
smartphone purchases, excluding enterprise
purchases, came mostly at the expense
of RIM’s BlackBerry OS but also at
Apple’s expense, an NPD Group survey of
RIM, however, hopes to turn up the
competitive heat with the launch of a third
BlackBerry 6 OS phone, the candybar-style
Blackberry Bold 9780 through T-Mobile at
$129.99 after $50 mail-in rebate beginning
Nov. 17. It joins Sprint’s BlackBerry
Style 9670 flip phone with full QWERTY
keyboard and no touchscreen and AT&T’s
For its part, Microsoft is also aiming to
rebuild its share, but Microsoft’s fourth-quarter gains
will be limited given the limited selection this quarter
and price points of $199. The first models arrive Nov.
8 when AT&T’s Samsung-made Focus hits
stores followed “a few weeks” later by the
LG Quantum with slide-from-the-side keyboard
and HTC-made Surround. All three are
priced at $199.
Two other Windows phones due in time for
the holidays, said Microsoft, are T-Mobile’s
planned HTC-made HD7, which the carrier
said is due in mid-November, and Dell’s Venue
Pro, designed for the T-Mobile network
with slide-down vertical keyboard.
For its part, HP’s Palm WebOS is not completely
out of the running because the company
unveiled the Palm Pre 2 with a next-gen
WebOS, launched it in Europe, and plans a
launch through Verizon Wireless in the coming
Going up against these launches are new
low-priced Android phones from T-Mobile
T-Mobile’s low-priced Android phones are:
• T-Mobile Huawei-made Comet, which
became available Nov. 3 at $9.99 after a
$50 mail-in-rebate with a two-year service
agreement and qualifying data plan. It will
also be available as a prepaid phone in
Best Buy, RadioShack and Target stores
at less than $200. The Comet features
528MHz processor, 2.8-inch full touchscreen
display, and 3.2-megapixel camera.
It’s targeted to consumers said to be
“ready to make the affordable transition to
their first smartphone,” the carrier said.
• LG Optimus T with Google, available
Nov. 3 at $29.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate
with a two-year service agreement
and qualifying data plan. The device features
customizable home screen, 600MHz
processor, 3.2-inch full touchscreen display,
and 3.2-megapixel camera with video
• Motorola Charm, which is already available at
$49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year agreement.
The Charm has a full QWERTY keyboard,
2.8-inch touchscreen, Backtrack touchpad on back,
600MHz processor and 3-megapixel camera.
• Motorola Defy at $99.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate
with a two-year agreement and qualifying data plan. A
precise availability date wasn’t released. The scratchand
water-resistant device is dust-proof and comes
with 800MHz processor, 3.7-inch full touchscreen, and
5-megapixel camera with flash and video capture.
The launches follow a start by Sprint of two of its
own low-priced Android phones. One is the LG Optimus
S, which became available Oct. 31 in Sprint
channels at $49.99 after $100 rebate with data plan.
The other Sprint phone is the Sanyo Zio from Kyocera.
It debuted Oct. 10 in Sprint channels at $99.99 with
two-year service agreement and after a $100 mail-in
To go with its low-cost Android quartet, T-Mobile
unveiled lower data-plan prices for smartphones and
expects to offer them during the holiday season. A
200MB/month plan, previously available
only for feature phones, will be available for
$10 per month with a new two-year service
agreement or $15/month without contract.
An unlimited data plan for smartphones is
$30/month like before.
T-Mobile also unveiled its first Wi-Fitethering
plans to let users connect their
Wi-Fi-equipped laptop or other portable
device to the Internet via a Wi-Fi-equipped
cellphone. The tethering plan at $14.99/
month is available only in conjunction with
the $30/month unlimited-data plan.
The T-Mobile launches will likely help
boost Android’s fourth-quarter share, but
in the third quarter, Android share already
accounted for the top share of smartphone
sales to consumers, with Apple’s OS coming
in second and RIM dropping to a close
third, NPD’s survey found.
Android was installed in 44 percent of
all smartphones purchased by consumers in the third
quarter, up sequentially from the second quarter’s 33
percent, with Apple’s iOS rising sequentially by only 1
percentage point to 23 percent. RIM’s OS share declined
sequentially to 22 percent from 28 percent.
Android’s rise and BlackBerry’s decline is more evident
in third-quarter year-over-year comparisons. Android’s
share rose on a year-over-year basis from 3
percent to 44 percent, while RIM’s share fell from 46
percent to 22 percent. Apple’s share also fell, but more
moderately from 19 percent to 23 percent.
“Much of Android’s quarterly share growth came at
the expense of RIM, rather than Apple,” said Ross Rubin,
NPD’s industry analysis executive director. “The
HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Droid X and other new high-end
Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers
that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors,
and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch
has done little to stem the tide.”
NPD’s Mobile Phone Track survey tracks consumers,
aged 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile