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Android fastest growing smartphone OS in U.S., survey finds

ComScore's latest ranking has Android getting closer to top ranked RIM BlackBerry and Apple iPhone devices

December 3, 2010 01:07 PM ET

Computerworld - Google's Android continues to grow faster in the U.S. than other top smartphone operating systems, including Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS and Apple's iOS, according to the latest ComScore rankings, which were released Friday.

Android's subscriber base grew by 6.5 percentage points during the three-month period, while the number of RIM subscribers fell by 3.5 percentage points and and Apple's base grew slightly from the three month period ending in July.

Overall, Android ended the latest three-month period in third place behing BlackBerry and iOS, which runs Apple's iPhone.

The findings are based on a survey of 30,000 mobile phone subscribers age 13 and older, a ComScore spokeswoman said.

RIM held 35.8% of the subscribers in October, down from 39.3% in July. Apple's 24.6% share in the latest period compares to 23.8% in July. Google finished the period with 23.5% of subscribers, up from to 17% in July.

Microsoft's share of the market, like RIM's, also declined, falling from an 11.8% share in July to 9.7% in October. Palm, now owned by HP, had a 3.9% share of the market in October, down from 4.9% in July.

The strong showing by Android has been shown in other surveys as well.

Many analysts believe Android will be the second-most used smartphone OS worldwide by the end of 2010, behind only Nokia's Symbian OS. That finish will put Android-based smartphone sales well ahead of projections made even a year ago.

The declines for RIM and Microsoft have also been predicted by many other sources.

Earlier this week, Nielsen reported somewhat different results for its survey of U.S. mobile subscribers, iPhone and RIM tied at the top of the list, with Android coming in third. Neilson's survey also asked respondents which smartphone they would buy next, and iPhone came out on top.

ComScore noted that 60.7 million people in the U.S. owned a smartphone during the three months ending at the end of October, up 14% from the preceeding three months. ComScore noted that even when an OS maker loses market share, it may continue to add subscribers as the overall smartphone market grows.

The ComScore survey also found that Samsung was the top manufacturer of smartphones and other mobile devices used by U.S. subscribers, accounting for 24.2% of the market. Samsung was followed by LG with 21% ( a slight decline from the earlier report), then with 17.7% (down 2.1%), RIM with 9.3% and Nokia last at 7.1% While Nokia leads the world in smartphone and mobile phone sales, it has not done well in the U.S.

ComScore also found that sending a text message to another phone was by far the most common non-voice use of a mobile device. The survey found that 68% of all mobile users send text messages, 36% use a browser, 33% download apps, 24% access social networking or blog sites, 24% play games and 15% listened to music on mobile phones.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at Twitter@matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed Hamblen RSS. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.



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