Print 16 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Mar 9 at 9:57 PM

Android posts impressive growth -- but so does Apple

ComScore, a leader in market research on mobile devices, publishes data on smartphone market share by device maker on a three-month basis.  The results offer some interesting perspective, as they are one-month out of alignment with calendar quarters -- the window most other market research firms deliver their data on.

Throughout 2011, comScore reported that everything looked great for Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android, which was surging ahead [1][2][3], at nearly every other smartphone players' expense.

But the latest numbers, in terms of total subscribers, reflect a more heated race for smartphone supremacy between Google and Apple, Inc. (AAPL).

comScore Q4 by platform

For Nov. and Dec. 2011, plus Jan. 2012, Android sustained a 2.3 percent growth pace.  Meanwhile Apple managed an impressive 1.4 percent growth.  These numbers reflect strong sales of the iPhone 4S reported by America's top wireless carriers during the holiday season [1][2][3].

Looking ahead to 2012, the biggest question is whether Apple will be able to keep accelerating its growth to the point where it once more becomes a serious threat to Android.  Despite its strong quarter, Apple's iPhones are still outnumbered by Android devices 3-to-2 in the U.S. market.

In terms of overall mobile device sales (including feature phones), Apple was the only OEM in the top five to post a gain.  

comScore Q4 2011 by OEM

However, that figure is a bit deceptive as Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930) 0.1 percent dip or Google's almost-subsidiary Motorola Mobility's larger 0.4 decline, are arguably a healthy sign, in that -- combined with the overall large Android growth -- they represent a customer migration to feature phones.  As it takes several feature phones to equal the profits of a single smartphone, these numbers ultimately look promising for Samsung and Motorola.

But they're also very good for Apple, who not only grew fast, but also slightly grew its OEM market share.  That represents that some feature phone ditchers are jumping ship to Apple for their first smartphone.  And considering Apple as much as an order of magnitude more profits per-device than Android phonemakers, it's evident why Apple is sustaining its position as the world's most profitable electronics company.

iPhone 4S
Many first time smartphone buyers are choosing Apple's premium-priced devices.
[Image Source: Device Mag]
Word came this week that Apple and top Android phonemakers may be close to a licensing truce, ending hundreds of global lawsuits.  The end to that distraction should allow the phonemakers to refocus on their top objective -- market competition.

The picture isn't pretty for Ontario-based Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) or Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) both of whom slid in market share.  RIM has big plans to reimagine itself in 2012 by cutting its fees and debuting new BlackBerry 10 OS (QNX-derivative) devices.  Likewise, Microsoft's partner Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) is stepping up its game [1][2] and other partners also have LTE Windows Phones on or approaching the market.

Source: comScore

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Always the joke blogging
By BSMonitor on 3/9/2012 9:48:58 AM , Rating: -1
Despite its strong quarter, Apple's iPhones are still outnumbered by Android devices 3-to-2 in the U.S. market.

Comparing the sales of "devices" running android to the iPhone itself.

Why not compare specific Android models to iPhone sales. That would be the true comparison.

To clear things up for the Mickers,

Windows devices outsold Apple Macbooks 10-1 in the same period.

RE: Always the joke blogging
By Rukkian on 3/9/2012 11:36:26 AM , Rating: 3
Because Apple only sells 1 model (other than selling the old models of those same phones). The list would be very long if you listed each and every handset made individually.

RE: Always the joke blogging
By tayb on 3/9/2012 11:49:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think his point was that Apple sells other devices running iOS besides the iPhone. They have two models of the iPhone, two models of the iPad, and an iPod Touch.

By foolsgambit11 on 3/9/2012 8:21:01 PM , Rating: 2
And Android runs on tablets, too. This is about a form factor/OS combination. Other metrics are also valuable for analysis, but this was measuring that specific metric. The FF/OS combo metric is valuable when determining market share for app development, while form factor alone is valuable for certain accessories, and OS alone is valuable for some other app development research. And devices/manufacturer and total of specific model sold is valuable for a consumer concerned about long-term support.

Every metric has a use to somebody. And rarely is it solely about which device is the most popular, just for the sake of talking about popularity. It's how that popularity relates to prospects for development or investment.

RE: Always the joke blogging
By acer905 on 3/9/2012 12:34:50 PM , Rating: 2
So, which iPhone do you want them to compare the sales to? the 3GS, the 4, or the 4GS? Why don't we compare the Galaxy S II with the 3GS for you so you can have a specific iOS device to specific Android device comparison.

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