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Smartphones, 4G Dominate Cellular Launches


The Android OS and
4G data technology dominated recent
smartphone introductions as carriers
continue to aggressively promote –
and consumers eagerly snap up – the
latest in smartphone technology.

Handset highlights include:

• The first two 4G smartphones
from Research In Motion, both
equipped with the company’s new
BlackBerry 7 OS.

• The expansion of AT&T’s 4G
HSPA+ smartphone selection to
four with the launch of the Androidbased
Samsung Infuse 4G and the
Hewlett-Packard Veer, which is the
first 4G WebOS-based smartphone
announced to date.

• A pair of mini-sized 3G Android
phones from SonyEricsson;

• The launch of Sprint’s first enterprise-
grade Android phone, which is
also the carrier’s first Android phone
equipped with international roaming;

• The second Android phone for
Sprint’s Nextel network.

• and Verizon’s first dual-core 1GHz smartphone, the Motorola-made Droid X2.

Carriers’ focus on
launching and promoting
smartphones is driving up
smartphone ownership,
according to multiple consumer
surveys. The Nielsen
Company found that 36
percent of cellphone subscribers
in the first quarter
of 2011 used a smartphone,
up from 28 percent in the
third quarter of 2010.

For its part, comScore
found that 72.5 million people
in the U.S. owned smartphones
during the three
months ending in March, up
15 percent from the preceding
three-month period.

Measuring smartphone
popularity by first-quarter
consumer purchases, NPD’s “Mobile Phone Track”
survey found for the first time that a majority (54 percent)
of all new cellphones purchased by U.S. consumers
were smartphones. The purchases exclude
purchases by enterprises.

Among those purchasing or planning to purchase
a smartphone, Android is the preferred OS of choice,
several surveys found.

In the first quarter, Nielsen found, 31 percent of consumers
who said they planned to get a new smartphone
indicated Android was their preferred OS, up from a
third-quarter 2010’s 26 percent. The intent to buy Apple
iPhones dipped to 30 percent from 33 percent, and
BlackBerry OS buying intentions fell to 11 percent from
13 percent.

Android also leads among current smartphone users.
In the first quarter, a comScore survey found, Android’s
smartphone share grew 6 percentage points to 34.7
percent from the preceding quarter. RIM following in
second place at 27.1 percent, Apple grew sequentially
by 0.5 percentage points to 25.5 percent, and Microsoft
and Palm followed with 7.5 percent and 2.8 percent,

In terms of first-quarter handset purchases by consumers,
Android also led the way, accounting for 50
percent of all smartphone purchases, NPD found. Also
in the first quarter, Apple’s smartphone share rose 9
percentage points to 28 percent of smartphone unit
sales, presumably due in part to the first-quarter launch
of Verizon’s iPhone. The BlackBerry OS share fell five
percentage points to 14 percent.