updated 09:20 am EDT, Thu April 28, 2011
NPD says Verizon iPhone helped Apple vs Google
The launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 in the winter not only helped Apple gain status in the US but saw Android share decline for the first time in two years, the NPD Group found on Thursday. Apple was now the third-largest phone maker of any type in the US at 14 percent, slipping only behind basic phone specialists Samsung (23 percent) and LG (18 percent). The iPhone jumped nine points in smartphones to 28 percent, but Android had slipped from a record high 53 percent smartphone sales in the fall to 50 percent spread across its several manufacturers.
RIM saw its share tumble as it lost five points and hit 14 percent.
The addition of a second iPhone carrier also had the benefits of cementing the iPhone 4's lead as the best-selling phone in the US, keeping it above the iPhone 3GS even with the latter's price cut to $49. Motorola's Droid X, the HTC Evo $G, and the outgoing HTC Droid Incredible filled out the top five.
Apple may have helped the US reach a milestone in smartphones, since while total phone sales dropped by one point, smartphones were now more popular than basic phones for the first time as 54 percent of sales were from the more advanced devices. While some Verizon iPhone buyers are converts from Android or the BlackBerry, many are also known to be first-time smartphone buyers, some of whom wanted an iPhone but refused to switch to AT&T.
The results support Nielsen's data on new buyers but also hint that Android may have at least temporarily slowed down in the US. Observers had expected the iPhone to sell well on Verizon but hadn't been clear as to whether or not it would draw customers away from Android. NPD data suggests that this may have been the case for at least some users or that it helped plateau Google's share.