May 122010
 

Android
powered smartphones took a 28% market share of all smartphone sales (in the US)
in the first quarter of this year. 
IPhone sales represented 21%.

This
is the first quarter in which Android based phones outsold iPhones, and shows
that the little more than one year old operating system is continuing to gain
momentum and marketplace acceptance.  The
success of Android based phones is perhaps not so surprising when one considers
that there are currently 30 different Android powered phones available for sale
in the US, and with all US wireless carriers offering a range of Android
phones.  From this perspective, the
continued strength of Apple's iPhone is perhaps the more distinctive result —
available only through AT&T, and with only one major model.

Astute
readers will notice that the combined share of Android and iPhone sales comes
to only 49%.  Perhaps the most surprising
thing is that Blackberry phones represented 36% of all smartphone sales (the
remaining 15% being split mainly between Windows, Palm and Nokia phones).

Blackberry’s
success is very surprising for two reasons.

Firstly,
I continue to maintain that Blackberry phones are outdated, clumsy, and under
featured.  Who in their right mind would
choose such a device in preference to an Android or iPhone?  (Possible answer — corporate accounts, that
have yet to embrace the new e-mail management features of iPhones and Android
phones that now give them equivalent functionality to that long offered by
Blackberry).

Secondly,
although Blackberry phones (in large part due to historical reasons dating back
to when they were the only viable smartphone product) have both the lion's
share of the installed base of smartphones and also gathered the largest share
of new smartphone sales in this last quarter, their Internet 'footprint' is
minimal.  In March, almost half of all
Internet activity from smartphones came from Android based phones, iphones
represented a further 39%, and Blackberries had a mere 7%.



So while Blackberry phones may still be the
largest selling smartphones, my guess is there is a lot of buyer remorse and
disappointment, with the phones being used for very little other than phone
calls and possibly e-mail, whereas Android and iPhone owners are discovering
and enjoying extraordinary variety of uses for which their phones can be used.

I
continue to have doubts about the future viability of Blackberry, unless they
come out with some major enhancements to their phones, and unless they can
co-opt a broader community of third-party application developers than they
currently have.  The challenges for
Blackberry have increased now that HP have bought out Palm and can be expected
to lavish resources on further developing and marketing devices based on Palm's
largely underappreciated but potentially very good operating system.

PS
-this analysis is for the US market only. 
Internationally, the picture is somewhat different.  Nokia – a brand with almost no marketplace
presence in the US – is the global leader in smartphone sales, followed by
Blackberry, and then followed by the iPhone. 
Although the US has long lagged behind the rest of the world in cell
phone technology, my feeling is that in this case, the US results, and in
particular Android's rapid rate of marketplace penetration, is something that
can be expected to flow to the rest of the world too.

 

  One Response to “Android phones now outsell iPhones in US”

  1. […] to an annual sales rate in the order of 23 million units.  And as we mentioned earlier this week, Android smartphones (in the US) have now overtaken iPhones in terms of quarterly units […]

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