updated 08:55 am EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
comScore shows Android doubling sales in half year
Android is holding on to its place as the most popular platform in Japan, comScore determined on Thursday. Google's platform more than doubled its user base in the country between December and March to hit 4.6 million devices, overtaking the iPhone in the process. Apple also saw its base go up but budged by just over 100,000 phones to reach 3.9 million.
The iPhone still led in actual interest. The 32GB iPhone 4 is the most popular phone, followed by an unnamed variant in Sony Ericsson's Xperia family. The 16GB iPhone 4 and the 32GB iPhone 3GS are also frequently owned in the country, followed by Toshiba's first Android phone, the Regza Phone T-01C.
The company's Japanese research head Daizo Nishitani called the growth of both Apple and Google a "tide change" for Japan, where smartphone adoption has usually been low. Japanese phone makers including Hitachi, Panasonic, and Sharp have often been very conservative and made frequent variations on the same rectangular, clamshell non-smarpthone design. Apple's ability to take market share led companies like Sharp to start developing their own smartphones.
Limited growth for the iPhone may increasingly stem from Apple's carrier distribution in Japan. Where Apple has expanded to multiple carriers even in the US, it still has just third-place SoftBank as its only provider on the island nation. The advent of the CDMA iPhone and a possible penta-band GSM or dual-mode version could see Apple change the equation by putting a CDMA iPhone on second-place KDDI and on market leader NTT DoCoMo.