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NPD: Android Is Top Smartphone OS

12/13/2011 09:35:38 AM Eastern

Port Washington,
N.Y. - Android's operating system share of smartphone sales grew to command
more than half of the U.S. smartphone market (53 percent) from January through
October, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

Apple's iOS share
grew to reach 29 percent of the market, and Research In Motion's (RIM) OS share
declined to 11 percent, according to NPD.

RIM and other
companies that were formerly on top of NPD's smartphone rankings, however, have
made critical business decisions this past year in a quest to shore up their
U.S. smartphone businesses.

"The competitive
landscape for smartphones, which has been reshaped by Apple and Google, has
ultimately forced every major handset provider through a major transition,"
said Ross Rubin, executive director, Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group.
"For many of them, 2012 will be a critical year in assessing how effective
their responses have been."

Motorola's share
of smartphone sales once reached more than a third of the smartphone market (36
percent) in the fourth quarter of 2006. However Motorola's smartphone market
share dropped as low as 1 percent by Q3 2009.

After adopting
Android, Motorola's share of smartphone sales rose to 16 percent of the market
in Q4 2010 before settling back down to 12 percent by Q3 2011. "Android has
helped Motorola climb back into the smartphone market; now, though, Google will
seek to use Motorola's patent pool to help protect other Android licensees,"
according to Rubin.

 "Few companies have felt the impact of the
shift to touch user interfaces and larger screen sizes as negatively as RIM,
but the company is beginning anew with a strong technical foundation and many
paths to the platform," said Rubin.

Back in Q2 2006,
RIM comprised half of all smartphone sales, but by Q3 2011 the company had
fallen to 8 percent. As it prepares to introduce smartphones on its
next-generation platform, RIM has already made some important incremental
improvements this year with the release of the BlackBerry 7 operating system.

RIM is now is
ranked fifth among smartphone OEMs, behind Apple, HTC, Samsung and Motorola.

One of the biggest
news stories of the year was Nokia's agreement with Microsoft to use the
Windows Phone operating system on its smartphones. "Nokia and Microsoft must
build from almost nothing to carve out success between the consistency of the
iPhone and the flexibility of Android," according to Rubin.

Even though
Microsoft's former smartphone operating system, Windows Mobile, peaked at 50
percent of smartphone sales in Q2 2007, Windows Phone 7 by comparison has not
achieved more than 2 percent of smartphone sales since launching in Q4 of 2010.

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