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Android gains ground at RIM's expense

BlackBerry OS still the most-used smartphone platform

By Brad Reed, Network World
January 07, 2011 12:09 PM ET

Network World - While Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS is still the most-used smartphone platform in the United States, it's starting to hear footsteps from Google's Android

Also read: Android knocking on iPhone's door

According to the latest data from analytics firm comScore, RIM smartphones accounted for 33.5% of all U.S. smartphone subscribers in November. This figure, while still higher than RIM's competitors, represents a decline of 4.1 percentage points from last August, when RIM devices accounted for 37.6% of U.S. smartphones. 

In contrast, Google's popular Android platform made the biggest gains between August and November, as it saw its smartphone market share jump from 19.6% in August to 26% in November, a gain of 6.4 percentage points. It marked the first time that Android had overtaken Apple's iPhone OS in the U.S. smartphone market, as Apple held 25% of the U.S. smartphone market in November, a slight increase from the 24.2% share it held in August. 

ComScore's rankings of smartphone operating system market share differ significantly from rankings posted earlier this week from Nielsen. While both rankings showed Android making major gains in recent months, Nielsen actually showed iPhone in the lead with 28.6% of the U.S. smartphone market share, followed closely by BlackBerry OS (26.1%) and Android (25.8%). According to Nielsen's ratings, RIM was still the dominant mobile operating system just this past June, as it accounted for nearly one third of all U.S. smartphones at the time. Android, meanwhile, accounted for a mere 15% of U.S. smartphones in June before seeing its market share nearly double over the span of five months. 

Since January 2010, Android has doubled its total market share in the mobile operating system market, and devices based on Android accounted for 44% of smartphones purchased in the third quarter of 2010, according to research firm ChangeWave. Research firm Gartner has projected that by the end of the year sales of Android devices will exceed those based on the BlackBerry OS and the iPhone OS, meaning that Android will trail only Symbian as the world's most-used mobile operating system. 

Since its debut in the fall of 2007, Android has appeared on numerous popular smartphones for several carriers including Verizon's Motorola Droid and Sprint's HTC Evo 4G. At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google unveiled a new version of the Android OS catered specifically to tablet computers.

Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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