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  (Source: DVICE)

Google's Android is rising fast in smart phone OS marketshare.  (Source: Flickr)
Google's Android continues to gain momentum while Apple and RIM hold steady

Market research ComScore just released its latest set of numbers on U.S. mobile phone usage and the results are intriguing.  They indicate that the Windows Phone 7 Series can't come fast enough, with Microsoft continuing to shed loads of market share, dropping since October 2009 from 19.7 percent to 15.7 percent.  Likewise, Palm appears to be in trouble, dipping from 7.8 percent to 5.7 percent.  

Apple and RIM managed to hold steady with small gains -- 0.3 percent for Apple and 1.7 percent for RIM.  However, the big winner was clearly Google's Android OS, which sailed up to 7.1 percent from a mere 2.8 percent in October '09.

The study covered the 234 million Americans ages 13 and older who are mobile subscribers.  According to the study, between November and January 42.7 million of these users had a smart phone, up 18 percent from the August through October period.

The survey show that mobile browsing, apps, and mobile social networking are all slowly on the rise.  Interestingly, mobile gaming only crept up 0.4 percent since last October, despite the iPhone's dominance in the mobile gaming market.

The study also found Motorola to be America's top handset maker, with LG in a close second.

The mobile market is sure to shift more by the end of the year, but its hard to see what direction it will shift in.  Apple is currently trying to kill Google's smartphone momentum by suing its handset makers for allegedly infringing on its mobile intellectual property.  By the end of the year we may get some hints as to how that will play out.

Meanwhile Microsoft prepares to release its Windows Phone 7 Series, which look very promising, and Apple gears up for its latest summer iPhone launch.  Ultimately, how those two platforms stack up hardware wise may determine who goes head to head with Google in terms of smart phone dominance.



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This is all good news for the consumer
By mcnabney on 3/12/2010 10:39:04 AM , Rating: 3
We are all lucky that Android is there is pick-up the slack as Palm kerplodes. And a new Microsoft solution, with legs in non-phones and feature-phones as well, means that they are going to stay in the fight. That means that next Xmas there will be four strong competitors for your business; Apple, RIM, Android, and Microsoft (Jason, why did you forget about RIM in your last paragraph - you do know that they are still the #1 smartphone maker, right?)

As long as no company gets more than half of the marketshare they will all continue to innovate - which is good for everyone. Sorry Palm. The Pre was cool, but that Sprint exclusive turned out to be fatal. You can't build-up much needed marketshare on the #3 US provider that markets almost exclusively on price.




RE: This is all good news for the consumer
By retrospooty on 3/12/2010 10:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
Sprint exclusive wasn't fatal to Palm, quality issues and being slow to innovate for the past 7 years was fatal to Palm. The Pre exists becasue they finally gave up on thier loser engineering staff and outsourced design completely ( Pre and Pixi are the first of those completely outsourced designs, previous HTC and other makers designed Treos were still based on Palm designs and had Palm's week assed input). Beleive me , I know, I worked there from 2002 to 2007.

The reason they couldn't start with Verizon is Verizon wouldn't take it first due to poor quality track record. Verizon is happy to come along 6 months later when all the worst ROM bugs are worked out, failure rates are known and product is stable.


By mcnabney on 3/13/2010 4:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon didn't take the exclusive because Palm wanted a big check for the 12 month exclusive period. Apple wanted even more (big check + large chunk of all data revenues) which is why Apple went to their #2 choice AT&T.

And all mobile devices have quality issues now. It is almost a shock when a device launches and a quarter of them don't come back within 30 days with issues. That is just how they manufacture electonics now. Remember the old StarTac? The damn things was indestructible and as reliable as a 1970 rotary dial Ma'Bell phone. Now, they deliberately make them to last at most a couple years since that is all people seem to want to use them for anymore.


RE: This is all good news for the consumer
By adiposity on 3/12/2010 12:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We are all lucky that Android is there is pick-up the slack as Palm kerplodes


I've seen the Pre, and believe it is a viable competitor to Android/iPhone/RIM. Yes, they have tanked market share but it's a good phone, and should help them recover.


RE: This is all good news for the consumer
By DEredita on 3/12/2010 1:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
I've played extensively with the original Pre and the Pre Plus. While I wasn't overly sold on the original Pre (slider feel, and (lack-of) quality feel), the new Pre Plus feels far more solid, better keyboard, double memory (ram and storage), and overall better quality and tweaks across the board.

I spent a long while using the Palm Pre Plus and going back to my iPhone 3G, I was quite disappointed. The UI on the WebOS platform has a much better flow to it, the multitasking is great, and it feels far more responsive than my iPhone.


By Pirks on 3/12/2010 1:38:41 PM , Rating: 1
wonder if 3GS changes the picture


RE: This is all good news for the consumer
By rtrski on 3/12/2010 3:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
If you factor in the 18% increase in the total smartphone users in the field, the Palm share loss is just over 1% in actual user-base, and another article more correctly pointed out (typical lack of DailyTech journalistic skill) that the survey says "Palm", not "webOS", so some of that decline could even be old Treo's being retired.

But the point remains that Palm isn't growing market share (if that 1% is entirely Treos being retired, the users didn't exactly opt for a new Palm device, else they'd have had at least 6.6% in the survey), which is indeed sad as the new OS is quite nice, and still growing with the PDK, Epic engine port, etc. (Disclosure: I do own a Pre on Sprint and am quite happy with it...and it is my first 'smartphone'.) But they have had some hardware quality issues: I'm still on my first Pre, but my wife's managed to churn through four in around eight months. <eyeroll>

I'm hoping they stay around because I like what they're doing, but let's face it, unless you're one of the Apple Annointed, a phone, even a smartphone and associated OS and apps, is really just a 2 year commitment, not a religious affiliation. When I'm up for renewal in Summer 2011 if Palm doesn't have anything interesting (and for that matter, if Sprint doesn't have hardware and services that still thrill me by comparison to another carrier in general), I could see myself going elsewhere for my mobile needs just fine. The few bucks I've paid for the occasional app aren't any incentive to stick around.

Have been intrigued by Android, but Google's propensity for everything being a 'beta' forever, and the general disjointed fragmentation of versions they're spinning thru right now on different hardware and carriers, kind of turns me off until it stabilizes. It'll also be interesting to see what comes out of Win 7 platform....


By Targon on 3/12/2010 4:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint isn't the most popular, Verizon isn't really pushing it, and AT&T doesn't have the Pre. This is why Palm is losing market share. I am still using my Treo 680 because I hate the feel of Blackberry devices, and I HATE touch screen based keyboards due to constantly needing to correct mistakes. At least with a real keyboard, you can FEEL the keys and errors will be less.


RE: This is all good news for the consumer
By thesafetyisoff on 3/12/2010 6:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
The Palm is a good phone but not a great one. None of the top touch-based smartphones (iPhone, HTC Hero, Droid, Storm, etc) is the complete package. Streaming video on the Pre looks great, and the interface is nearly as fluid and responsive as iPhone.

But Palm Pre has a few major issues for me:

1. Battery life. Isn't it reasonable to expect your phone to go a full day with moderate use? Palm apparently doesn't think so. I'm not a heavy mobile user, but the phone is DEAD by 8pm, even after the software update.

2. Slippery design. The thing feels like a greased egg in your hand with it polished surfaces and rounded corners. The phone is probably 3 times more likely to drop out of your hand than other smartphones.

3. Nagging problems synching up with some Yahoo Mail accounts that go all the way back to June of 2009, without a solution. Palm ignoring this problem is rdiculous.


By kmmatney on 3/12/2010 11:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
The slippery design feature (which I think can be an issue with all phones with slide-out keyboards) is one reason I went for the iPhone. It allows you to put a good non-slip silicone case on it. Its also built really well - have dropped it a few times without any issues.


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