updated 04:10 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
Analysis claims HTC has more US share than iPhone
HTC may have beaten Apple to take the top spot among smartphones in the US this summer, Canalys estimated Monday. The Android-first company reportedly delivered 5.7 million smartphones to the country, leaving a wide gap between itself and Apple's 4.6 million iPhones. Samsung also just moved past, knocking Apple to third place after its hardware climbed to 4.9 million.
As with other recent studies, the reversal is attributed to the wait for the iPhone 4S. Apple was expected to make an almost immediate comeback and has shipped four million new iPhones worldwide, at least a million of which were from AT&T. Apple might get also get to see how loyal Verizon Android users are now that the first Motorola Droid owners are leaving their contracts and qualify for upgrades, researchers said.
Most of HTC's advantage came from the sheer ubiquity of high-end models, Canalys said. Phone with 4G or pseudo-4G, such as the Thunderbolt, Evo 3D, Sensation, and Inspire 4G, are available on all the major carriers. Most also have multiple lower-end HTC devices.
RIM's exact US shipments weren't outlined, but its market share has supposedly been cut to a third of its former status. BlackBerry phones accounted for 24 percent of tracked share in summer 2010 but was down to nine percent a year later. The drop parallels those seen by Microsoft and Palm in years past.
The Canadian company was now in a now-or-never situation, Senior Analyst Tim Shepherd said. It needed to have a 4G-capable phone using BBX in early 2012 to get back into competition. Rumors have emerged of the BlackBerry Colt filling that role.
Regardless of data, concerns exist as to actual sales versus shipments. Both Apple and its rivals officially report just shipments, but Apple has often stressed that it regularly sells every phone it makes that isn't set aside for needed inventory. HTC, Samsung, and others often sell most of their stock but usually have to cut prices sharply most of the way through a phone's life cycle as it works to clear out unsold stock.