updated 10:25 am EST, Mon January 3, 2011
Nielsen shows iPhone in front, Google and RIM even
The iPhone has overtaken the BlackBerry as the top-selling smartphone in the US but is still facing stiff competition from Android, Nielsen revealed in new study data today. Apple passed RIM in September and is now estimated to have 28.6 percent of the American market to itself. RIM has now fallen enough that it had 26.1 percent as of November and was virtually even with Android, which climbed to 25.8 percent and is virtually guaranteed to have taken second place by the end of 2010.
Apple may nonetheless have reason to be concerned as it has yet to reverse Android's growth rate among the newest buyers. Among those who bought their phones in the six months of the study, 40.8 percent were Android users; the figure was a steep increase from 27.5 percent in June. Apple's adoption rate after the iPhone 4 has been virtually unchanged in that period and sits at 26.9 percent. Most of Google's caustic effect was again on the BlackBerry, as it dropped from 35 percent in June to just 19.2 percent in the fall.
The news is good for Google and shows a steady growth rate but could change significantly in 2011. Analysts and observers have warned that Verizon has grown overdependent on Android and is still seeing its overall smartphone sales drop even as Google has become more important. Apple is widely expected to launch a Verizon iPhone after CES and could not only inflate its own share but take away from Android for those customers who would otherwise have bought an iPhone but refused to switch to AT&T.
Only a handful of smartphone plans for Android are known so far but will mostly focus on dual-core phones like the LG Optimus 2X, Motorola Olympus and possibly the Samsung Stealth V.