updated 10:20 am EDT, Mon May 10, 2010
Apple allegedly slipping to 3rd place
Android phones may be outselling the iPhone in the US for the first time, according to new NPD data. In the first quarter of the year, Google-based phones like the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris helped bump Android up to 28 percent of the market where Apple's phone mustered just 21 percent. RIM's BlackBerries were relatively safe but dropped to 36 percent, down 6 percent.
Much of the gain is attributed to Verizon, whose success with the Droid line as well as its Buy One Get One promos helped keep its smartphone sales very close to AT&T's even with the iPhone in place. AT&T was still the leader thanks to Apple with 32 percent of all US smartphone sales, but Verizon was just behind at 30 percent. T-Mobile and Sprint were left taking just half as many customers each at 17 and 15 percent respectively.
The popularity of smartphones helped raise the average price of all phones year-over-year to $88, but rapid cost cutting brought the price of a smartphone down slightly to $151 over the same period.
NPD's data isn't necessarily reflective of absolute share as it's based on 150,000 responses to its panel, which requires sign-ups and may skew towards more technically inclined users. However, it may reflect the sheer numerical advantage Android has over the iPhone in both customer reach and devices. Where the iPhone is by its nature limited to one company and still has a US exclusive with one carrier, Android is available on all four majors and usually with more than one phone design at each carrier.
As a consequence, Android has had a seemingly quicker update schedule, as phones like the Nexus One and Droid Incredible are now potentially faster than the iPhone 3GS and have features it doesn't, such as higher resolution cameras and sharper screens.