data from ComScore revealed how the top five hardware makers and the top five operating systems jostled with one another during November, December and January.
Looking at the hardware first, ComScore's data underlines the popularity of the Apple iPhone in the U.S. ComScore does not differentiate between sales of the iPhone 5 versus the iPhone 4S or 4. Its figures suggest that Apple's hardware accounted for 37.8% of all smartphones in the U.S. as of January 31. For the three-month period ending October 31, Apple hardware accounted for 34.3%. Apple's presence in the U.S. smartphone market grew markedly, 3.5 percentage points, between the end of October and the end of January.
Samsung landed in second place as far as hardware makers go. Again, ComScore didn't provide specifics on individual device sales, but noted that Samsung's share of the U.S. smartphone market grew from 19.5% in October to 21.4% in January. Samsung's climb was more modest than Apple's, at 1.9 percentage points. During this period, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note II. The Galaxy S IV should arrive next week.
[ Take a look at Samsung's upcoming "iPhone killer." See Samsung Galaxy S IV: What To Expect. ]
Together, Apple and Samsung represent 59.2% of all the smartphone hardware sold in the U.S.
HTC, Motorola and LG round out the rest of the top five, respectively. HTC dropped 1.7 percentage points in the U.S. market between October and January, from 11.4% to 9.7%. Motorola dropped 1.4 percentage points in the U.S. market between October and January, from 10.0% to 8.6%. LG actually grew its U.S. market share by 0.3 percentage points, from 6.7% to 7.0%. Among those notably absent from the top five: BlackBerry, Sony, Huawei and ZTE.
It is disappointing to see the drops from HTC and Motorola, as both companies brought respectable new devices to the market during this period. HTC is banking on The One to help revive its presence in the U.S. and beyond. LG's growth in the U.S. can likely be attributed to the launch of the LG Optimus G and the Nexus 4, which are the strongest smartphones the Korean company has brought to the U.S.
Switching gears to the major smartphone platforms, we see a somewhat different story.
Google's Android platform was the most widely used in the U.S. between November 1 and January 31, but it managed to lose share anyway. It dropped 1.3 percentage points from 53.6% to 52.3% at the end of January.
At the same time, Apple's iOS share gains mirrored those of its hardware gains. It rose 3.5 percentage points from 34.3% to 37.8%. Together, Android and iOS account for 90.1% of the platform space.
BlackBerry, Microsoft (Windows Mobile and Windows Phone combined) and Symbian round out the top five. BlackBerry's share of the OS market in the U.S. dropped 1.9 percentage points, from 7.8% to 5.9%. Microsoft's Windows platforms dropped from 3.2% to 3.1%. (ComScore didn't provide details on the individual percentages of Windows Mobile versus Windows Phone.) Symbian, believe it or not, represented 0.5% of the U.S. smartphone space, dropping from 0.6% in the previous period.
Keep in mind that BlackBerry's results are entirely based on sales of its legacy BlackBerry 7 platform, and do not include BlackBerry 10, which has yet to launch in the U.S. As far as Windows Phone is concerned, the drop can most likely be attributed to a plunge in the use of older Windows Mobile devices. Sales of Windows Phone devices have yet to balance out with Windows Mobile. The fact that Symbian is present in the U.S. market at all is a bit of a surprise.
In order to achieve these results, ComScore surveyed more than 30,000 smartphone users between November 1 and January 31. It says 129.4 million Americans own smartphones, representing 55% of all cellphones.