Mobile masters: Android OS, Apple manufacturing

Ronny Kerr · July 28, 2011 · Short URL:

RIM BlackBerry continues plunge, giving Android huge OS market share and Apple manufacturer lead

Mobile market share, for both operating systems and manufacturers, is evolving at such a rapid clip that every few months we’re seeing dramatic shifts.

In the U.S., Google’s Android is still the mobile operating system with the most subscribers and Apple has ousted RIM as the top smartphone manufacturer, according to the latest data from Nielsen.

Based on data from Q2 2011, Nielsen found that Android now owns 39 percent of the smartphone operating system market, up from 29 percent in March. Much of those points were stolen from RIM BlackBerry, whose business is suffering tremendously this year, most recently resulting in the shuttering of 2,000 jobs, or about 10 percent of its global workforce.

Windows Mobile (and Windows Phone 7) and Palm (HP WebOS) have experienced small losses to their mobile OS market shares. Apple’s iOS, in turn, now commands 28 percent of the market, versus 27 percent in March.

On the manufacturing side, the story is just as sad for RIM (this makes sense, since RIM develops both the operating system and hardware for BlackBerry devices, just as Apple controls both aspects with the iPhone). Back in March, Apple and RIM were neck and neck, with 27 percent of the market. Now, Apple holds a huge lead with 28 percent of the market, versus RIM with 20 percent.

Other leading manufacturers include HTC (20 percent), Motorola (11 percent) and Samsung (10 percent).

So, once again, the spotlight is on the battle between Apple and Google, fighting violently for share of the smartphone market. When Apple announces new mobile products (iPhone 5? in the fall?), more than form factor, technical specifications or any other rumors floating around, it will be interesting to see whether Apple addresses the common understanding that the iPhone is a higher-end, more expensive device and Android devices are more affordable.

It could easily be in the cards. When Apple analyst Toni Sacconaghi interviewed Apple COO Tim Cook last February, it appeared that this would be part of their business strategy going forward:

While Tim stopped short of explicitly stating that Apple would pursue a lower price iPhone, he did state that Apple was working hard to "figure out" the prepaid market and that Apple didn't want its products to be "just for the rich," but "for everyone"; he also stated that Apple "understood price is big factor in the prepaid market" and that the company was "not ceding any market." Cook noted that Apple executives – including himself – had spent "huge energy" in China, noting that it is "a classic prepaid market." He further noted that the handset distribution model was poorly constructed and that Apple would look to "innovate" and do "clever" things in addressing that market.

I eagerly await the market breakdown in a few months.

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