ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

One in three US smartphones sold are Android devices: study

Android-enabled mobile phones have ousted BlackBerry devices as the most widely sold in the United States, according to NPD Group.

The three operating systems with the largest install bases ? Google's Android, Apple?s iPhone and Research in Motion?s BlackBerry platforms ? all gained in total device penetration in the second quarter. However, Google?s operating system fared the best, accounting for one in every three smartphones sold in the U.S.

?Certainly, RIM and Apple continue to do very well in terms of overall device share,? said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis and consumer technology at NPD Group, New York. ?Ultimately, part of their business is to sell product, not just to expand the base of the operating system, although that has some relevance in terms of attracting developers to the platform.

?All three operating systems continue to grow as smartphone penetration continues to increase,? he said.

NPD is a market research firm with a focus on consumer and retail sector analysis.

Operating system market shares
Android has experienced significant growth in 2010.

This is the second straight quarter that the platform has made strong gains in market share among U.S. consumers.

The top five selling Android devices are the Motorola Droid, the HTC Droid Incredible, the HTC Evo 4G, the HTC Hero and the HTC Droid Eris, according to the report.

Android already overtook the iPhone to become the second-ranked smartphone operating system after the first quarter (see story), and has now jumped ahead of BlackBerry as well.

Android?s ascent to the head of the pack marks the first time since the fourth quarter of 2007 that RIM?s BlackBerry platform has not held the No. 1 position for smartphone market share.

BlackBerry devices accounted for 28 percent of all smartphones sold in the second quarter.

RIM hopes to stem the loss of market share and stave off competitors such as Apple and Google, which offer more advanced mobile technologies, with the announcement of the BlackBerry Torch and the BlackBerry 6 operating system (see story).

However, Mr. Rubin said that the Torch still lags behind on some of the features that have made iPhone and Android devices popular.

?BlackBerry 6 and the Torch should help somewhat in stemming the tide of BlackBerry users defecting to other devices,? Mr. Rubin said. ?That said, if a consumer is attracted to a sleek, fluid experience of something like the iPhone or an Android device, the relatively understated design of the Torch may not draw them in.

?At this point, RIM is relying on a customer understanding of many of the traditional benefits of the platform, such as efficiency, security and reliability,? he said. ?If consumers buy into that experience, then that will be enhanced and modernized through BlackBerry 6.?

Meanwhile, the iPhone accounts for 22 percent of the smartphone market.

Mr. Rubin said that Apple?s mobile devices are enjoying strong sales growth, although the second quarter results to capture the full success of the iPhone 4 release, since that device was released at the end of the quarter.

Carrier market shares
Verizon Wireless maintained its market share lead among carriers in the second quarter, accounting for 33 percent of all smartphones sold. This was the third consecutive quarter Verizon held the No. 1 position.

Verizon?s continued dominance can be partly attributed to its buy-one-get-one smartphone offer that includes BlackBerry and Android devices.

AT&T was the second leading carrier for smartphone sales with a 25 percent of the market share.

Sprint rounded out the top three, accounting for 12 percent of smartphone sales, while T-Mobile controlled 11 percent of the market.

Looking forward
Smartphone technology is improving every quarter and competition will continue among manufacturers to create the most attractive mobile experience.

Manufacturers will continue to push the envelope technology-wise in the coming quarters.

?We?ve seen a trend for attributes in handsets such as large screens, capacitive touch, a wide array of apps that can take advantage of various social networking features, strong media consumption capabilities,? Mr. Rubin. ?A number of recent handsets have very large displays and HDMI connections for connecting to TV.

?These are features that are definitely being adopted by consumers,? he said.

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York