Mobile phones running Google’s Android operating system have outsold Apple’s iPhone in the US for the first time, according to an industry report
According to data gathered by NPD Group, Android phones are now the second most popular handsets behind Research in Motion’s BlackBerry range. RIM’s devices accounted for 36 per cent of the US smartphone market in the first quarter of this year, says NPD Group, followed by Android-based phones with 28 per cent, and Apple’s iPhone with 21 per cent.
However, experts have pointed out that there are more than 30 phones available in the United State that run Android, the open-source mobile operating system backed by Google and a consortium of partners in the Open Handset Alliance. These include handsets from Motorola, HTC and Samsung.
By contrast, Apple’s current iPhone, the iPhone 3GS, is believed to be coming to the end of its life cycle, with Apple poised to unveil the so-called iPhone 4G at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month. Apple said it had sold more than 50 million iPhones worldwide since the device first went on sale in July 2007.
Mobile devices are a key battleground for consumer electronics companies, with many traditional “computer” manufacturers diversifying in to the market. HP recently acquired Palm, while Dell is launching a range of Android-based handsets.
“As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD.
“Recent previews of BlackBerry 6, the recently announced acquisition of Palm by HP, and the pending release of Windows Phone 7 demonstrates the industry’s willingness to make investments to address consumer demand for smartphones and other mobile devices. Carriers continue to offer attractive pricing for devices, but will need to present other data-plan options to attract more customers in the future.”