Yawn, Android beats iPhone and BlackBerry again
I know that yesterday Apple CEO Steve Jobs proudly proclaimed 100 million iPhone shipments, which is a darn big number. But iPhone isn't winning the smartphone wars, a story that's getting tired to write (Apple could still win the mobile platform wars). Today, ComScore and Nielsen separately released new US smartphone data that puts Android ahead of Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone. It's quickly becoming an old story.
In January, Android handsets accounted for 31.2 percent of the US smartphone market, up from 7.1 percent a year earlier, according to ComScore. BlackBerry held the second position, after a devastating, steady decline -- 30.4 percent down from about 44 percent in January 2010. Meanwhile iPhone share remained flat, in the 25 percent range, for all of last year. US market share was 24.7 percent in January 2011.
Nielsen measured smartphone operating system market share from November 2010 to January 2011 -- Android 29 percent and BlackBerry and iOS tied at 27 percent. Thirty-two days ago, Nielsen called a three-way tie -- iOS 28 percent and Android and BlackBerry 27 percent each. When the data is cut by device and operating system that 27 percent tie puts Apple and RIM way ahead of competitors (HTC follows with 12 percent share).
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The Apple fan club of bloggers and journalists keep writing like the smartphone war is over and iPhone won. Here's some sobering perspective, which someone will refute as meaningless in comments: Apple took 3.9 years to ship 100 million smartphones. According to Gartner, Nokia sold more smartphones (100.3 million) just in 2010. Since January 3, I've written this Android shipments are soaring story 10 times:
1. "Stunning Android growth visualized in new video"; February 24
2. "Gartner: Android smartphone sales surged 888.8% in 2010"; February 9
3. "This is getting boring -- iPhone US smartphone share remains flat while Android soars"; February 7
4. "It's a photo finish: Android, BlackBerry and iOS are tied in US smartphone share"; February 1
5. "Canalys: Android tops Symbian in smartphone shipments -- twice as many units as iPhone"; January 31
6. "IDC: Developer interest in Android nearly equals iOS"; January 25
7. "ComScore: Verizon iPhone is likely bad for AT&T, probably not for Android"; January 14
8. "Canalys: Verizon iPhone won't slow Android growth even the slightest"; January 14
9. "Can you feel the noose, Apple? Android gains against flat US iPhone market share"; January 7
10. "41% of new smartphone buyers choose Android"; January 3
There are two others worth calling out, in context of Jobs' 100-million boasting: "Verizon's iPhone 4 public relations damage control says it all" and "Say, whatever happened to that 1 million Verizon iPhones sold announcement?" Apple and Verizon have yet to announce iPhone 4 sales, since last month's launch. If they were good, surely Apple would boast; like Jobs did about the 100 million number, which is a nice distraction -- using cumulative data as opposed to sales that are more immediate and people have asked about. Last week, Apple 2.0 blogger Philip Elmer-DeWitt quoted Jobs, from 2009 sniping about Amazon not releasing Kindle sales: "Usually, if they sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody." That's right. If Verizon had sold a lot of iPhones -- at least a million -- "you want to tell everybody."