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NPD: Android Takes Smartphone Majority In Q4

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.

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

“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