updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed August 4, 2010
NPD says Droid, Droid Incredible tops in US
Android has overtaken not just the iPhone but the BlackBerry as the top-selling smartphone platform in the US, the NPD Group found on Wednesday. Exactly one third of all smartphones sold this spring were running Google's platform. Most of the losses came at RIM's expense, as it dropped to 28 percent. The iPhone 4 launch helped Apple gain share at 22 percent, but it wasn't enough to offset overall gains by Android.
Despite launch promotions, it was Motorola's soon to be discontinued original Droid that led Android sales. The HTC Droid Incredible's continued display shortages for much of the spring kept it from reaching its potential, but the Evo 4G was the third-strongest for similar reasons. The aging, related Hero and Droid Eris were fourth and fifth place.
Much of Android's success, and the BlackBerry's failure, could be directly attributed to Verizon. The one provider is responsible for a third of all smartphone sales in the country and is known to artificially pump the number of devices sold through its Buy One, Get One (BOGO) promos; the deal gives a similar or lesser device for free, including Android and BlackBerry devices. RIM's continued rises in phone shipments have been attributed to BOGO deals, but Verizon in the past year has deliberately downplayed the BlackBerry in favor of its Android line, giving HTC and Motorola much stronger promotion. Three out of the top five Android phones come from Verizon.
Google's ability to hold on to the American smartphone market isn't as certain. The spring quarter only saw a few days of iPhone 4 sales and didn't reflect the sustained extra demand during the summer. Prospects of a Verizon iPhone by January may further challenge Google, as it would no longer have the security of knowing that the iPhone would be unavailable beyond AT&T.