Latest comScore Report: Android Soars, RIM Plummets!

by Gaurav Kheterpal on May 10, 2011

Most recent mobile OS research reports have a common header – Android continues to grow at an explosive rate, Apple iOS seems steady as ever and RIM and Nokia continue their downhill journey. The recent report from comScore is no different – Google’s Android continues to gobble up its market share and there’s more bad news for RIM’s Blackberry.

The latest quarterly numbers for smartphones released by comScore indicate that Google Inc.’s Android operating system overtook Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry as the top smartphone platform in the United States. It’s worth noting that Android devices surpassed BlackBerry long back in new smartphone sales, but RIM found comfort in its huge installed base of BB users dating back to the time it dominated the U.S. smartphone market. But now, things seem to be going from bad to worse for RIM.

It’s Android all the way!

The comScore report indicates there are 72.5 million smartphones currently in use in the United States. ComScore ranked Android’s U.S. market share at 34.7%, six percentage points higher than in the final quarter of 2010 while RIM’s share fell to 27.1 percent, a 4.5 point drop from 31.6 percent in the previous quarter. This is the first time in U.S. smartphone market that BlackBerry operating system has been pushed to the second spot among the top five. Apple was rock steady as ever as iOS share inched up half a percentage point, while Microsoft’s WP7 and HP’s PalmOS fell marginally, dropping a percentage point each.

It was a similar story among device manufacturers. Samsung took the top honors with a 24.5% share of the market, followed by LG, with 20.9%, Motorola, with 15.8%, RIM, with 8.4%, and Apple, with 7.9%. The ComScore report is based on surveys of 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers.

Keir Thomas from PC World states “Android has adopted the same position on the smartphone as Windows occupies on the desktop–it’s become the default platform for hardware vendors to use who don’t want to go to the expense of developing proprietary software.” – and I couldn’t agree more on that. Volume is a crucial factor in Android’s success story. Apple has released only four different models of iPhone since 2007. In contrast, it’s nearly impossible to count the number of Android handsets, while RIM has released multiple iterations of their BlackBerry smartphones over the past few years.

To be honest, I don’t think it’s a lack of effort from RIM. Last week, the company unveiled a new operating system and two new smartphones at its BlackBerry World conference. It shook hands with Microsoft to employ Bing search engine as the default choice on all Blackberry devices. The company has even opened the door for businesses and government agencies to start using iPhones and Android devices on their networks, with the benefit of RIM’s renowned security architecture.

However, these announcements didn’t even offer a temporary respite as the company warned that its first-quarter earnings would be lower than expected and that smartphone launches would be delayed till later in 2011.

Can RIM turn things around? I’m skeptical, yet hopeful.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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