NPD Report: Android Beats iPhone in First-Quarter Market Share

by Gaurav Kheterpal on May 11, 2010

It was inevitable that Android would surpass the iPhone sooner or later, and that time is now. A new wireless market research by the New York-based NPD Group said that in the first quarter of 2010, Android phones outsold Apple’s iPhone in U.S. during the last quarter.  This was the first time Android sales (28 percent) have surpassed iPhone’s sales (21 percent) in United States.

RIM’s Blackberry retains the top slot with 36 percent sales. The NPD data is based on unit sales. The report also reveals that the average selling price for all smartphones in the first quarter was 151 U.S. dollars, a 3 percent decrease over the previous year.

Droid and Droid Eris (both Verizon Wireless devices) have played a major role in boosting Android device sales during the last quarter. The Droid was launched in late 2009 and has been a phenomenal success for Verizon and Motorola. Verizon is now planning to step up the promotion activity for the latest Android device – the Droid Incredible from HTC – for the next several months. Android’s achievements seem even more impressive if you consider the fact that Nexus One failed to deliver as the dream Android phone. In March Goldman Sachs slashed its estimate for Nexus One sales this year from 3.5m units to just 1m worldwide.

The report indicates that Apple is under severe pressure to expand its carrier base. The iPhone exclusivity plan seems to be back firing now and Apple needs to consider a Plan B in order to revive iPhone sales in U.S. On the other hand, Google knows that it’s dominance over iPhone may be short lived. The new iPhone 4G is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month and may turn the tide back in favor of Apple.

One of the major reasons for Android’s popularity and increasing sales is the large number of devices that use this open source platform. Google’s promiscuous partnering philosophy seems to have worked very well so far. Google now boasts of offering 30+ Android-powered devices from 12 equipment manufacturers. Further, Google has ensured that Android is available to all carriers without any exclusivity (unlike Apple iPhone) and partnered with T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.

NPD analyst Ross Rubin says carrier distribution and promotion play a “crucial role in determining smartphone market share.” Along those lines, “Verizon Wireless had expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones,” Rubin says. Such promotions boosted strong sales of the Droid, Droid Eris, and BlackBerry Curve models.

There’s no doubt that Android has shaken up the U.S smartphone market and Apple is feeling the heat. Apple has never commented on any of these reports and this one is no exception. An Android phone sold a day, keeps Apple away!

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >


{ 1 trackback }

Android Beats iPhone in Market Share | Kiwiluv Tech Blog
May 14, 2010 at 10:15 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake May 11, 2010 at 8:51 am

The reason they outsold them is because this is a relatively new technology for Verizon customers where the iPhone has been around for almost 5 years. Let’s look at the comparison a few years down the road when all the Verizon customers have had the ability to get the android phones for a few years. It’s actually a positive stat for iPhone fans to see that even after 5 years of availability it’s still keeping pace in new sales with a brand new platform.

The android sales are so high because it’s new technology that wasn’t available. Look at the android sales for it’s life vs iPhone sales in the same span. That would be the real comparison. I bet the iPhone smokes it…

Gaurav Kheterpal May 12, 2010 at 5:15 am


That’s a valid point. Another major reason is that Android offer 100+ devices as compared to the solitary iPhone. However, the NPD report is an indication that the iPhone is increasingly feeling the heat from Android devices. iPhone was a revelation when it was launched and it took the mobile industry by storm. In contrast, Android’s progress has been steady.

Perhaps, it resembles the classic Rabbit-Tortoise race storytale. I’m not sure if the rabbit (iPhone) is sleeping as the Tortoise seems to be inching ahead. As for lifetime sales of Android vs. iPhone, that would be interesting and a major number-crunching activity:)

Steve Russell May 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Or maybe it has to do with the fact that AT&T sucks and the Android phones are now good enough to realistically compete with the iPhone? I for one, am making the switch to Droid only because AT&T is such a horrible company these days.

Gaurav Kheterpal May 13, 2010 at 3:29 am

@Steve – Very true. AT&T’s misery is only adding up the worries for Apple. And you’re not the only one switching to Android devices due to AT&T’s network horrors 🙂

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