NPD on US Smartphone Numbers for 2011: Android in the Lead, iOS Trailing and Everyone Else a Non-Factor [Stuff We’ve Heard Before]


NPD Group have released their smartphone OS market share numbers for the United States for the period of January-October 2011 so far. Up to this point, Android commands 53% of the US market share, a considerable lead over Apple’s iOS at 29% and RIM’s Blackberry OS owns 10%.

Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7, Symbian and WebOS are still very much irrelevant, though Microsoft is making decent progress. The trend from quarter to quarter has looked exactly like this so this comes as no surprise. And there is no reason to believe that the trend won’t continue heading into 2012. Android’s dominating the United States and that’s that – well on its way to dominating the glob by the end of 2014.

The NPD Group: For Once-Strong Smartphone Makers, 2011 Was The Year of New Beginnings

As Android and Apple continue to dominate the U.S. smartphone market, RIM and other smartphone manufacturers have made moves to reclaim lost market share.

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, December 13, 2011 – According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, Android’s operating system (OS) share of smartphone sales grew to command more than half of the U.S. smartphone market (53 percent) from January through October 2011, as Apple’s iOS share grew to reach 29 percent of the market, and RIM’s OS share declined to 11 percent. RIM and other companies that were formerly on top of NPD’s smartphone rankings, however, have made critical business decisions this past year in a quest to shore up their U.S. smartphone businesses.

“The competitive landscape for smartphones, which has been reshaped by Apple and Google, has ultimately forced every major handset provider through a major transition,” said Ross Rubin, executive director, Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group. “For many of them, 2012 will be a critical year in assessing how effective their responses have been.”

Google acquires Motorola

Motorola’s share of smartphone sales once reached more than a third of the smartphone market (36 percent) in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2006; however, the company’s smartphone market share dropped as low as 1 percent by Q3 2009. After adopting Android, Motorola’s share of smartphone sales rose to 16 percent of the market in Q4 2010 before settling back down to 12 percent by Q3 2011. “Android has helped Motorola climb back into the smartphone market; now, though, Google will seek to use Motorola’s patent pool to help protect other Android licensees,” according to Rubin.

The fall of RIM

“Few companies have felt the impact of the shift to touch user interfaces and larger screen sizes as negatively as RIM, but the company is beginning anew with a strong technical foundation and many paths to the platform,” said Rubin. Back in Q2 2006, RIM comprised half of all smartphone sales; however, by Q3 2011 the company had fallen to 8 percent. As it prepares to introduce smartphones on its next-generation platform, RIM has already made some important incremental improvements this year with the release of the BlackBerry 7 operating system. RIM is now is ranked fifth among smartphone OEMs, behind Apple, HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.

Nokia does Windows

One of the biggest news stories of the year was Nokia’s agreement with Microsoft to use the Windows Phone operating system on its smartphones. “Nokia and Microsoft must build from almost nothing to carve out success between the consistency of the iPhone and the flexibility of Android,” according to Rubin. Even though Microsoft’s former smartphone operating system, Windows Mobile, peaked at 50 percent of smartphone sales in Q2 2007, Windows Phone 7 by comparison has not achieved more than 2 percent of smartphone sales since launching in Q4 of 2010.

Information this press release is from “Mobile Phone Track” and “Smartphone Track,” both of which report on the activities of U.S. consumers, age 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile phone or smartphone. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise mobile phone purchases.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Hmm…. hundreds of phones running Android. vs. 5 phones running iOS. You are really surprised at who has more users??? Let’s compare Apples to Apples (no pun intended).

    Is there any SINGLE Android phone model that has sold more than any single model of the iPhone? NOPE.

    1. Probably yes. The Galaxy S2 probably sold more than the 64GB white iPhone 4S

    2. but the message is clear. 53% of consumers chose android. 

      1. But iOS, until recently, was only available on AT&T, and not a lot of people can stand their vastly sub par service. If you have access to 100 android and 1 iOS that you really wan’t but you can’t use AT&T, you’re going to have to go with android.

        That said, The increase in users for iPhone is going up more rapidly than Android, and that means that with iOS being available on Verizon and Sprint is allowing those who wanted it to get it. Expect to see that 53% that android has shift to accommodate people who haven’t switched over due to contract or financial ability to switch.

        1. It’s not going to make as large of a difference as you may think. The US is only one country, most countries around the world have had the iPhone, and Android devices on several carriers. Android still prevailed around the world. So opening up to new carriers in the US will not make that large of a difference.

        2. “That said, The increase in users for iPhone is going up more rapidly than Android…”

          7 > 11 ???

          1. 38% verses 28%.

          2. That kind of relative measure may be somewhat useful for a new product or platform showing rapid growth, but get real. iPhone has been around longer, it’s already way behind, and the gap is growing larger every day.

          3. I know, but you seemed surprised that someone would suggest that 7 is more than 11, when that’s not what anyone was suggesting.

        3. Ummmm, and your clueless!

          Same was said when the iPhone went to Verizon “…going to crush Android share, and take over the world…”

          Did it?  Nope!

          And the 7 additional users on Sprint that the iPhone will pick up won’t make any dents in Android share either!  They have the marketshare they are going to get, for crying out loud, 71% of the people surveyed that purchased the 4S were PREVIOUS iPhone 4 owners!  71%!!

          Stop listening to the CrApple spin on numbers, they will do whatever they can to make themselves look the best, no matter what the situation.

          Oh, and while we are at it, let’s pull an “Apple’ism” and say that Windows Phone 7 is up 100% from last year!!!  Hey, from 1% to 2% growth is 100% increase!  THAT is how CrApple does things!


        4. Lol, you might want to go back to elementary school as your mathematic skills are nowhere near those of my 8 yr-old daughter. Android grew 11% and iOS grew 7%. Last time I checked 11 was higher than 7… but I don’t know how things work in Appleland.

          As for the carrier argument, outside of the US the iPhone is available on most carriers and it didn’t prevent Android from becoming the top mobile OS pretty much everywhere in the world.

    3. not the point albert, it is apple’s choice to only have it on their phones and to only sell a few models.  doesn’t change the fact they have a smaller market share because of it.

    4. I am only surprised that some people think I was supposed to be surprised.  The iPhone is just another model of smart phone.  That’s all it ever was and all it will ever be.

      Apple will still make a ton of money.  Google will still make a ton of money.  People who didn’t like the iPhone will still have a decent smartphone, even after the death of Palm.  Developers will still make apps for both platforms, and probably for Windows Phone and more.

      I love Android for its design philosophy – there is currently nothing out there designed like it.  But I will leave when something better comes along.  Just Like Palm OS, Windows Mobile and RIM customers left for Android and iPhones.

    5. hey albert ,, its saying that 53% of the market share prefer Android over iOS and 71% prefer anything but iOS

    6. The study IS comapring all Android phones against all iOS phones. Apple made a choice to have their OS on a limited number of phones, just like they did in the computer world. Try comparing Windows market share vs OSX market share and you’ll have a good idea of where iOS will stand very soon.

      As for a specific Android phone outselling the iPhone, I don’t have numbers for the US but the Samsung Galaxy S II is outselling the iPhone 4S in many countries.

    7. It has nothing to do with 5 phones vs. 100’s.  What it has to do with Apple offering a product and Android offering a platform.  The same has happened before to Apple with Mac and Windows.  Where once Mac was the dominant PRODUCT, Microsoft released the Windows PLATFORM that could be run on just about any commodity hardware.  The rest is history and as they say… History is repeating itself.

      1. E X A C T L Y

    8. who cares if Apple locks their users into one real choice, that is another advantage of Android, having your choice of manufacturer and phone model. 

    9. You say that as if it really matters.  What does matter is that 71% of the people in the US don’t want Apple phones.

    10. 5 Phones and a couple of iPads iPod touches need I really go on with this? 

  2. It’s called CHOICE. The arrogance of a company to think that one size fits all is a failure on their part and it showing in the numbers. There is not one phone that is perfect for everyone. That is why there are numerous sizes of Android phones available. I will take choice over company arrogance any day and it looks like several million other people agree with me. 

    1. These figures suggest that Apple’s 1 model system is working pretty well for them, even growing faster than Android (38% versus 28%), albeit after a decrease for them in 2010.

      I like Android, I’ve owned several Android phones and no Apple ones, but do you have to pretend that it’s a failure on their part? Clearly it’s not, they operate on a market niche and that’s serving them very well – better than any single Android manufacturer.

      Android is better than iPhone, we don’t need selective reading to tell ourselves that.

      1. actually isn’t Samsung as a company selling more phones then Apple right now? but of course Samsung has multiple phones. 

        1. I was thinking of just their Android phones, I don’t think they are outselling Apple yet – although I’m not 100% sure about that actually.

        2. Actually that was in the quarter that the iphone 4 had more than one year old. I dont think thatsamsung will outsell the iphone 4s

      2. It’s really not correct, however, to say that iOS is growing faster. On this graph both started at 0%, Android grew to 53% and iOS to 29%. Android also started later. Clearly, over the entire range, Android grew faster.

        1. Clearly, yes. I was pointing out how Apple’s smartphone business model isn’t “a failure on their part” and supporting this argument by showing that it is still doing well over the most recent range, and not just back when the iPhone was innovative.

          Android is massively outselling the iPhone and I would guess by more outside the US. Android has absolutely nothing to prove, but neither does iOS.

    2. Bahahaha….how many billions did M$ spend on Win Phone 7 development and marketing….lol.  Just to get 2% and I don’t see that growing by much if any.

      Balmer is so dumb. He had 42% of the market in 2007. It was his to lose and he did just that!

      Linux lovers everywhere thank Balmer for his incompetence.

  3. Samsung galaxy s2 broke records selling well over 30 million units worldwide

  4. Did you mean globe and not dominating the glob bahahaha todays winner of give away find the error. I win. :)

  5. but apple still offer better and more fun apps and battery life.

    1. Better is subjective. I play plenty of games that have graphics as good as their counterparts on iOS.

      Battery life’s the dead horse that’s been beaten too many times. The reason for the lower battery life is because high-end Android devices are using LTE. Faster data consumption means more power needed. As the iPhone 4S has shown with its battery issues, adding more features means you’re going to use up the battery quicker.

      I bet you that whenever Apple gets around to adding an LTE radio, the iPhone will see a drop in battery life.

    2. You obviously don’t have a 4S!!

      I had to buy an extra charger for my desk so my freakin’ phone would last through the day!!

      Yes, SIRI is off, as is WIFI, and everything else I can turn of and it still be better than a feature phone!!

      Battery on the 4S sucks at best!

      I hear on the 4 it was pretty awesome though…

      1. that explains why my co-worker leaves her phone plugged in all day…

      2. Imagine iPhone series with these sad battery trouble- then imagine it with 4g on top of that!
        Apple fiends will start killing randomly!…lol

    3. Actually, more fart apps doesn’t equal better.  I have yet to see a game on iOS worth playing that doesn’t have a similar or better game on Android.

      As for battery life, we’ve seen with iOS 4 than when Apple allow their phone to do half of what an Android phone can do, their battery life drops a lot faster than most Android phones.  I can easily go 2 days with moderate use on my Galaxy S II but if I turn on every single piece of software notification I can find that will run in the background I could easily bring that down to around 8 hours.  The more you ask from your device, the shorter it’s battery life will be.

      1. I have had a iPhone3G then Galaxy S and now since May this year ive been using a Galaxy S II. And I can confidently say that games and apps are still better on the iOS. That’s the reason I have bought a iPad2 two months ago. Obviously you’ve never owned a iPhone or I pad before. When I say owned I mean not played around with it actually had for like a year. That goes to all fan boys no matter what device they’ve had.

        1. Get a phone with Tegra 3 on it and a quadcore..this spring- and all gaming worries go away. Android marches on innovating growing learning and making it happen. That other company is dead man walking stagnant and arrogant . That ship is left behind with its passengers furiously denying they aren’t moving.. that the rest of the world is jealous that the old technology iphone they have with less technical advantages and less features.. and missing stuff Android phones have had for going on 3 years..
          One side progressing moving on- another side angry because normal people can read tech/pricing comparisons and didn’t get caught up in meaningless hype and bought a lesser phone.
          The tablet market is going the same route- look at the newer android tabs- and see them totally outclassing the iPAds. Choice will always win over dictatorial commandment.

    4. Better battery life? U must have an older iPhone. My best friends iPhone 4s on iOS 5 is dead as a doorknob after 4 hours..sometimes with very little use. Theres some nasty battery glitch that has plagued iPhones this go round.
      You should read more or actually own these devices before you make these grandiose claims.
      If iPhone is having trouble with battery life on iOQ 5 wait til they finally get 4g…(its been 2 years since I got 4g on a phone- why are the iPhonies- still technologically a mile behind Droids?)…
      Lets hope iPhone 5 has 4g- ???  We’ve had several waves of Android 4g phones since 2010, 2011 and now weeks from 2012… and Apple the so called technological elite- cant seem to get 4g together for years now.
      Siri? still laughing over that one…. IPhone is good rhetoric- but its a vegetarian sandwich- no beef to be found.

    5. 2009 called, they want their argument back.

      1. Basically….lol

    6. Not really

  6. I don’t feel sorry at all for RIM.  They refuse to adapt so they will get left behind.  The whole, “LOOK!  Corporate email on your phone!!!” angle worked for a while, but you can’t live on that forever.  Just about every smartphone can effectively do that now.  What else ya got?

  7. I love android but I also think that WebOS is a terrific platform. I wish they were more competitive.

  8. I heard that Android phones are planning to come to life in 2012 and take over the world.. humans will be a thing of the past.. but the android phones will soon after die off because they will get sick from eating too many gingerbread men and ice cream sandwiches

  9. Since I can’t comment through my android browser, i have to use the app to made this comment.

    Battery life:
    I am using htc incredible running cm7 with v6 charger.

    The battery suck so much if I compared my friend’s iphone 4ass. He left his house around 10 and I left around 2, at work, he played so many games and I only 1 or 2 and fb. But he still have ~40% when leaving work at 8 vs mine ~24%.

    Yes, android got a lot of apps, even some from ios, but none are fun as their ios only apps. Like anthill, infinitely blade, and a lot more of those 3d games.

    And there UI is smooth, much more smoother than my htc incredible cm7 running adw ex launcher.

    1. Your device has more radios- and does more stuff than his iPhone.
      Listen. if you want less features like 4g etc.. get an iPhone. but whining isnt attractive.
      If you want to increase battery life- go to “xda android development whateveryourdevice is hit enter- and you’ll be at the page where you can root your Android device, instal custom roms and kernels, themes… and pimp your android device- to better usability and better battery life.
      There are Android development communities all over the web (but the best are at XDA)..
      You dont have to sit there and “take it” you have a droid in your hand son.
      Stop whining and root and custom rom and fix whatever ails your droid.

      (These closet iphone people are so clueless and needy.)

      1. i agree everyone who owns an android phone should at least root it..

        having an android phone and not pimping it out is like buying a really nice car and taking it home only to have it sitting in the driveway ..for god sakes!! take it out for a ride

    2. Since there are so many Android phones out there…we as consumers have to do research if we want the best experiences from Android.

      Research woulda told you that Moto and Samsung usually have better battery life than HTC.

      As far as the Incredible…..

      It has a 65nm chip in it with a 1Ghz cpu and a better gpu than the Eris. The Droid X1 has a 45nm cpu. The smaller the nm number, the more it helps with battery life. Moto and Samsung went 45nm with the Droid X1 and the Galaxy S1 while HTC still used 65nm on their phones until almost the end of 2010….

      HTC also use smallish batteries vs. everyone else most of the time.

      And compare the UI to the Galaxy S1, GS2 other HTC phones. And I thought Sense UI was smooth?

      Research, ppl…research. We research before we buy cars, HDTV’s, PC’s right? Same thing here. Smartphones are really kinda like mini PC’s. I sometimes argue that we cant compare them to PC’s…but for some things we can.

  10. Also, I took a college placement test today, I put my phone on silence, after 4hrs of testing, my phone went from 87% to 31% without using it.

  11. I think to be able to command nearly 30% of the smartphone market from just 3 phones (4S, 4, 3GS) is nothing short of phenomenal. Especially when those 3 phones are netting over 60% of the profits in the industry :-)

    Wondering out loud: if there were only 3 Android phones, would those 3 have 30% of the market and 60% of the profits????

    Doubt it….

    1. Thats easy to say when it hasnt been tried yet. Sorta like hindsight.

  12. My phone is on 2nd charge right now, but my friend’s iphone 4ass still on his 62%… Can someone explain? He don’t even carry his charger to work while I need to and he play more games than I do.

  13. What everyone seems to be ignoring is that Android’s marketshare growth is now plateauing while the iPhone is accelerating.

    Android’s smartphone marketshare grew 350% in 2009 and 367% in 2010 but has plummeted to only 28% growth this year.

    Now part of this can be attributed to a maturing market but that makes the accelerating share gains of the iPhone that much more impressive.

    In contrast, iPhone marketshare which actually shrank by 14% in 2010 has surged by 38% so far this year in comparison with the whole of last year and that does not include the very large seasonal increase in sales always seen in the Christmas quarter.

    Add in Apple’s dominance in tablets with the iPad and in mini-tablets with the iPod touch and the iOS platform is definitely on the ascendancy.

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