updated 10:00 am EST, Tue December 13, 2011
NPD shows Android did not dampen iPhone in 2011
An NPD Group look back at most of 2011 has shown the sheer change in the smartphone business in the past year. Android was now the majority, having climbed from 42 percent in all of 2010 to 53 percent from the start of 2011 through October. Despite the pressure, though, Apple too grew share the entire year and actually grew at a faster relative rate, bouncing back from a dip to 21 percent in 2010 to a new high of 29 percent by this October.
The marvel was more the collapse of anyone else trying to compete against Apple and Google in the space, the NPD said. Outside platforms held a collective 38 percent of the market in 2010, led by RIM's 25 percent, but their piece had now been cut by more than half to just 17 percent. The BlackBerry, once nearly half of the market in 2009, was now just a tenth.
Windows Phone 7 had grown to two points in 2011, but most of those who had quit Windows Mobile in 2011 went to another platform, leading to Microsoft having just five percent combined. Both Nokia's Symbian and HP's webOS were just one point each and virtual non-factors.
For the researchers' executive director Ross Rubin, 2012 would be a deciding year. Every significant smartphone builder had to go through a "major transition" in the period, and 2012 would be the year in which they learnd whether that work paid off, he said. Microsoft will see the effects of a more fleshed out Windows Phone as well as possibly buying market share through the Nokia deal, while RIM plans to launch its first BlackBerry 10 devices.
Apple is already expected to shift its position now that the iPhone 4S is seeing strong sales and pushing down key Android competitor HTC, as well as possibly others. Google is leaning mostly on Samsung and Android 4.0 devices like the Galaxy Nexus to carry it through 2012.