Android doubles market share in six months

Faith Merino · October 6, 2010 · Short URL:

Google's mobile operating system is the No. 1 platform for users who recently purchased a smartphone


Data from comScore and Nielsen are both showing that the Android operating system is gaining ground in the smartphone platform arena.  Android has become the No. 1 platform among users who purchased a smartphone in the past six months, according to Nielsen.

Among all smartphone users, RIM continues to rule the roost, claiming 31% of the market, according to Nielsen, while Apple comes in at 28%, which is about where it’s been for the last year (even with the introduction of the iPhone 4).  The real surprise is the steady rise of Android, which currently claims 19% of the market, up from 8% in February.  While Apple’s numbers have remained fairly steady over the last year, RIM’s numbers have slid from 37% in February, so it appears that Android is eating into RIM’s share more than Apple’s.


ComScore has reported similar data, finding that RIM is still on top with 37% of the market, down from 41% in May.  Similar to Nielsen’s findings, Apple has stayed relatively stable at 24.2%, seeing some slippage from 24.4% in May.  Android, meanwhile, has gained six percentage points, taking 19.6% of the market, compared to 13% in May.  Other players in the smartphone platform field include Microsoft, which took 10.8% of the market (down 2.4 percentage points from May), and Palm, which accounts for 4.6% of users (down .2 percentage points).  Android is literally the only operating system that actually gained points over the summer.

Android’s growing numbers can also be attributed to the fact that the smartphone market overall has grown quite a bit.  According to ComScore’s data, by August of this year, 55.7 million people owned smartphones, which is up 14% from May.  And it looks like the vast majority of those new smartphone owners have gone with Android, as RIM’s numbers dropped precipitously among new smartphone owners from 35% in June to 25% in July (according to Nielsen’s data).

But how satisfied are users with their chosen platforms?  Survey data from Changewave reveals that some 75% of iPhone users say they are “very satisfied” with their phone, compared to 65% of Android users.  So what this ultimately seems to suggest is that Android isn’t really a direct competitor with the iPhone OS, but rather the next-best-thing.  It is practically a given that if the iPhone wasn’t exclusively limited to AT&T, we would have some very different numbers on our hands.

ComScore’s data also reveals what devices people are buying.  Samsung is leading the fray with 23.6% of the OEM market, up 1.2 percentage points from May.  LG comes in at a squeaky close second with 21.2% of the market, followed by Motorola (18.8%), RIM (9%), and Noka (7.6%).

And what are users doing with their smartphones?  The vast majority are texting, which isn’t all that surprising.  66.6% of mobile subscribers are using their phones to text, which is up 1.4 percentage points from May.  The area that has seen the most growth though is Web browsing.  34.5% of mobile subscribers used their phones to browse the Internet in August, which is up from 31.9% in May.  Coming in right behind Web browsing is app downloads, which 32.3% of mobile subscribers used their devices for, up from 30% in May. All of this makes sense if more people are buying smartphones today than they were a few months ago.

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