After several months of strong growth, the number of smartphones powered by Google's Android platform surpassed the Apple iPhone in the U.S. for the three-month period ending in November 2010, a market research firm says.
61.5 million Americans ages 13 and older owned a smartphone in the period, and 26% had an Android-based phone, ComScore reported Friday. Third-place Apple followed with a 25% share and Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, led the pack with a 33.5% share.
Android's number two ranking followed an increase of 6.4 percentage points from the previous three-month period. During the same timeframe, Apple's share grew by less than one percentage point, and RIM's BlackBerry fell 4.1 points. The overall number of people sporting smartphones rose by 10%.
Rounding out the top five smartphone platforms was Microsoft with a 9% share, followed by Palm 3.9%. The platforms' shares fell by 1.8 and 0.7 percentage points, respectively.
Analysts have said that Android would eventually overtake Apple's iPhone, which uses the company's proprietary iOS, because of Android's widespread adoption among so many manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, and HTC. Apple is the only maker of the iPhone, which competes solely in the high end of the smartphone market.
Besides fewer manufacturers, only one carrier, AT&T, sells the iPhone in the U.S., while multiple carriers sell Android phones. That situation is expected to change soon. Industry observers expect Verizon Wireless to start carrying the iPhone soon, which should give Apple a market boost.
ComScore's findings were different from Nielsen's, which reported this week that Apple in November managed to stay ahead of the Android platform in the U.S. market in November, 27.9% versus 25.8%. Android in the month had cut Apple's lead in October nearly in half. Nielsen also found that of the smartphones purchased in the last half of the year, 40.8% were Android based, 26.9% were iPhones, and 19.2% were BlackBerries.
ComScore found that 234 million American ages 13 and older had a mobile phone, with Samsung the leading manufacturer with a 24.5% share. LG was second with 20.9%, followed by Motorola, 17%; RIM 8.8%, and Nokia, 7.2%.
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