updated 12:05 pm EST, Thu March 3, 2011
Android passes iPhone, BlackBerry in Nielsen share
Android has finally claimed a lead over other smartphone platforms in the US, Nielsen determined on Thursday. Between November and January, Android broke a three-way deadlock and claimed 29 percent of the US smartphone market, just ahead of the iPhone and BlackBerry tied at 27 percent. All of Microsoft's platforms combined were a distant third at 10 percent.
The company also gave a rare glimpse into the individual hardware manufacturers for platforms that aren't completely controlled by the OS designer. HTC was the most successful of these by being successful in more than one platform: it was the top Android manufacturer at 12 percent of the total smartphone arena, and dominated both Windows Phone and Windows Mobile with seven percent of the overall smartphone field. A tenth of all smartphones were Motorola Android devices, but Motorola's exit from Microsoft and the resulting punitive Microsoft lawsuit were apparent as just one percent of US smartphones were Motorola's old Windows Mobile hardware.
Samsung was the last significant player in either Android or Windows, having five percent of Google's OS and just two percent of Microsoft platforms. WebOS was four percent and Nokia's Symbian had a total of two percent.
The figures, while representing a milestone for Android, might shift wildly in the next Nielsen study. Its demographics stopped just before the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 in February. The network has only so far said that iPhone sales are good, but anecdotal results have hint that many are switching from Android or BlackBerry as they were either frustrated with their existing choice or had only bought something else while waiting for Apple.
Motorola, Verizon's preferred manufacturer until Apple arrived, has said it saw sales slow down once Verizon subscribers became convinced and were eventually told the iPhone was reaching their carrier.