Port Washington, N.Y. - Samsung has become a dominant manufacturer of Android smartphones in the U.S. with its share growing 140 percent in the first quarter of 2012 over the prior year, to reach 24 percent, according to The NPD Group.
Apple continues to lead smartphone manufacturers in Q1 share, growing 7 percent over the same period last year, to capture 29 percent of the market.
During the same period, smartphone models manufactured by LG, HTC, Motorola and RIM all experienced market-share declines.
NPD's ranking of manufacturers, based on Q1 sales of new smartphones in the U.S. has Apple at 29 percent, Samsung at 24 percent and HTC at 15 percent.
The rise of the prepaid market contributed to Samsung's growth, and part of the rise for prepaid handsets were smartphones. In the absence of an Apple prepaid option, Android phones accounted for 79 percent of the prepaid smartphone market in Q1. Thirty-eight percent sold in the U.S. were manufactured by Samsung.
"Samsung is the only market leader from the feature phone era to transition to market leadership in the smartphone era in the U.S.," said Ross Rubin, connected intelligence executive director for The NPD Group. "Its broad carrier support and advertising -- particularly in the ascendant pre-paid segment -- have helped it achieve the highest market share among Android handset providers in the U.S."
Android's OS share of the smartphone market in the U.S. regained some ground against Apple in the first quarter of 2012 vs. the prior quarter. Sales of new smartphones running the Android OS grew 24 percent over the prior quarter to reach 61 percent of the market.
Apple's iOS share fell from 41 percent to 29 percent, which is a quarter-over-quarter decline of 29 percent. Even so, year-over-year smartphone sales for both companies remained strong, representing 90 percent of smartphone sales, with Android gaining 20 percent in 2012 and Apple gaining 7 percent.
Based on NPD's monthly Mobile Phone Track service, the top-selling smartphone operating systems in the U.S. in Q1 were as follows: Android, 61 percent; iOS, 29 percent; RIM, 5 percent; and Windows Phone 7, 2 percent.
While handset models running Android's OS continue to own the lion's share of the U.S. handset market, Apple's iPhone devices held onto the top three spots in NPD's overall handset ranking in the first quarter of this year in this order: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3G S, Samsung GalaxySII and HTC Evo 3D.
"After some release of pent-up demand from customers adopting the iPhone 4S, coupled with the company's strength in the holiday season, Apple's share fell in the first quarter, as we've often see it do in the quarter following its introduction of a new handset," Rubin said.
"Now that the iPhone is available on Sprint, though, the increased carrier coverage has created a higher baseline for Apple's share than we have seen in the past," he added.