If you count iPhones, iPods, and iPads, then Apple is still beating Google's mobile operating system in the U.S., according to figures from comScore.
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Apple's iPhone may be destined to lose market leadership to Android phones, but Apple's position is stronger than it may appear, at least in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Gartner predicted that Android would become the most popular mobile operating system worldwide by the end of 2011 and that Apple's iOS would be relegated to second place through 2014.
But in the U.S., Apple's lead is commanding when the full range of iOS devices--iPhones, iPods, and iPads--is considered. The iOS platform outreaches the Android platform by 59%, according to figures released by comScore on Tuesday.
iOS has an installed base in the U.S. of about 37.9 million devices, compared to 23.8 million Android devices.
Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile, believes his company's data shows that iPhone and iPad owners are not just "fanboys." That it to say, Apple's iOS ecosystem is bringing in new customers and broadening the company's base.
"This of course has significant implications for the developer community as they consider the market potential in developing applications for different mobile platforms," said Donovan in a statement.
Particularly noteworthy is the extent to which iPad owners use non-Apple smartphones. RIM smartphone users make up 28.9% of U.S. smartphone users overall, but only account for 17.5% of iPad owners. This suggests that RIM customers may be holding out for the PlayBook or may be resistant to Apple's marketing.
Samsung, LG, and Nokia smarphone users, on the other hand, are overrepresented as iPad owners. They account for 8.6%, 3.6%, and 2.3% of the U.S. smartphone market, respectively, but account for 14.3%, 12.1%, and 3.4% respectively of iPad owners. This is not a good sign for the Samsung Galaxy Tab, at least in the U.S.
While Android's distribution numbers may be impressive, it remains to be seen whether mass adoption will lead to strong financial results for anyone other than Google. Gartner is predicting that by 2015, two-thirds of all open OS devices--such as Android--will sell for $300 or less. Apple won't mind selling fewer iOS devices than competing sellers of Android devices if it can sustain its comfortable profit margins while the competition fights for scraps selling commoditized Android gear.
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