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Android set to overtake Apple and RIM in the US

by Scott Bicheno on 3 January 2011, 16:44

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), RIM (TSE:RIM), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Nielsen

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The US smartphone market is nearing a couple of landmarks that may well occur at roughly the same time.

Firstly, Android is on course to overtake Apple's iOS and RIM's BlackBerry at the most popular smartphone OS. The first chart below shows the respective market shares over the past six months.

It shows, in essence, Android taking a big chunk of share from BlackBerry in the past six months. At the current rate of change, Android will have overtaken both of them by the end of this month.

Much will be made of Android ‘beating' Apple, but it must be remembered how different their business models are. Apple makes money from selling premium products at a premium price, while Google's interest is in having the largest possible audience to sell ads against. Android overtaking iOS in terms of volume is entirely consistent with both of these models.

The second chart shows the proportion of smartphones owned, among all mobiles in the US. The blue bar indicates the overall percentage, while the orange one reveals the percentage among those people who bought a new phone in the past six months.

As you can see, in November 45 percent of all new mobiles bought were smartphones. It's quite conceivable that the majority of all new phones bought in the US will be smartphones by the end of this month. Maybe the term smartphone, as a subset of all mobile phones, will be redundant in developed markets by the end 2011.




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The most interesting thing about that is that Apple's share is virtually stagnant. Is this the beginning of the demise?