NPD: Android Takes Smartphone Majority In Q4

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Port Washington, N.Y. - Android-based smartphones accounted for a majority of quarterly smartphone sales to consumers for the first time in the fourth quarter, when Android's share rose sequentially by 9 percentage points to 53 percent, The NPD Group found in its consumer surveys.

Also for the first time, all of the top five selling handsets were smartphones, the company said.

In the second quarter of last year, Android supplanted the Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry OS as the dominant smartphone OS through consumer channels and continued its share climb since then, NPD found.

The survey also found that, for the first time, smartphones accounted for all of the top five selling phones to consumers. Android phones accounted for three of the top five selling phones in the quarter, but Apple's iPhone 4 was the top-selling model to consumers. That was followed by Motorola's Droid X, HTC's Evo 4G, Apple's iPhone 3G S and the Motorola Droid 2, in that order.

Android's sequential gains in the fourth quarter came at the expense of most other OSs, with the exception of Windows Phone 7, which was unavailable in the third quarter, and Palm's WebOS, which maintained a 2 percent share.

Apple's iOS share declined 4 percentage points to 19 percent of unit sales in the fourth quarter, while RIM"s share fell 2 points to tie Apple's 19 percent. The share held by Windows Mobile, Microsoft's legacy OS, fell 3 points to 4 percent, and the Windows Phone 7 OS debuted in the quarter with a 2 percent share. Palm's WebOS held at 2 percent.

Despite buy-one-get-one-free promotions by AT&T and T-Mobile, the Windows Phone 7 OS claimed less market share than its predecessor, Windows Mobile, which is still available at all four major U.S. carriers, NPD noted. Windows Phone 7 entered the market with lower share than either Android or WebOS did at their debuts, the company also said.

"Microsoft has made the case for Windows Phone 7's differentiation and improved integration," said Ross Rubin, industry analysis executive director for NPD. "Now the company must close the feature gap, offer more exclusive capabilities, work with partners to deliver hardware with better differentiation, and leverage its extensive experience in driving developer communities to increase its app offerings."

Smartphone Share By OS
(Unit sales to U.S. consumers*)

*excludes sales to U.S. consumers, aged 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile phone. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise mobile phone purchases.

Source: The NPD Group Mobile Phone Track

 

 Q1 09

 Q2 09

 Q3 09

Q4 09 

Q1 10

Q2 10

 Q3 10

 Q4 10

RIM

 47%

 46%

 46%

 37%

 36%

 28%

 22%

 19%

Android

 5%

 3%

 3%

 21%

 28%

 33%

 44%

 53%

 Apple iOS

 19%

 25%

 28%

 21%

 21%

 22%

 23%

 19%

 Wind.Mobile

 21%

 17%

 13%

 13%

 10%

 9%

 7%

 4%

 Wind.Phone 7

 NA

 NA

 NA

 NA

 NA

NA

 NA

 2%

 Palm WebOS

 0%

 2%

 5%

 4%

 2%

 4%

 2%

 2%

 Other

 9%

 7%

 4%

 4%

 4%

 3%

 3%

 3%

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