Apple Grabs a Quarter of U.S. Smartphone Market


Perhaps it has to do with Apple positioning itself as a mobile devices company, but the iPhone is on a serious upswing in the U.S. smartphone market, even while all of its competitors seem to be losing ground. Except for one, that is, and the rate at which that company is building up steam should give the Mac maker cause for some concern.

For the moment, though, Apple is doing much better than anyone in the space, really. The latest comScore report, which covers a three month period from September to December of 2009, shows Apple as having 25.3 percent of the total smartphone market share, up 1.2 points from 24.1 percent at the beginning of the period measured.

Research In Motion (RIM) came in first place overall once again, with 41.6 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers opting for a BlackBerry device. But that number represented a slide, ultimately, as RIM began the measurement period with 42.6 percent. Microsoft and Palm likewise slipped, with MS dropping from 19 to 18 percent, and Palm losing 2.2 points, down to 6.1 percent.

Google had the lowest market share of the bunch, with 5.2 percent of subscribers. But that number was up from only 2.5 percent in September, suggesting that it was probably helped along considerably with the introduction of the Motorola Droid. 2.7 points also represents the largest market share grab made by any smartphone manufacturer over the period of the report, so Google is indeed the company Apple needs to be most worried about.

Palm is probably the company everyone needs to be least worried about. The Pre and Pixi maker lost almost as much market share as Google gained, and was the only company on the list to post such a significant loss of ground. The Pre Plus and Pixi Plus could alter its fortunes, but I honestly can’t see customers who were disappointed with the originals going back for more at this point.

Going forward, Apple’s main concern is going to be with Google and how it fares now that it’s begun taking more control over its own smartphone future. The Nexus One drastically undersold the iPhone both in the first week and in the first month, so that’s got to be good news for Apple. That said, Google is doing something pretty much unprecented with regards to smartphone sales in the U.S., and it’s only selling the device in the U.S. as of yet. Apple had the advantage of selling its device through AT&T when it launched, which was an established sales and marketing channel for such devices already.

Apple’s growth over the period measured in the comScore report remains impressive, though, given that it had not introduced a new smartphone model since much, much earlier in the year. Google’s rise can be almost entirely attributed to the initially strong sales of the Motorola Droid, which was arguably the “it” device of the pre-Christmas season.

Related GigaOm Pro Research: As Windows Mobile Stumbles, Which Smartphone OS Will Seize the Lead?

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