Tricia is at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week. Follow her ongoing coverage and read up on past news here.
It’s widely believed that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) will announce its latest iPhone tomorrow, but with dozens of new handsets flooding the market, the smartphone-maker will have to announce something special to make it outshine all the others.
Google’s Android is in the best position to make Apple push the limits. Through a bevy of handset makers, Android can offer a variety of phones that will make it difficult for Apple to beat with just one hardware release a year. While it is hard to ever go wrong with an iPhone, Android offers a ton of alternative form factors, price points and carriers: Sprint (NYSE: S) has released the first 4G phone on Android; T-Mobile has a new competitive Android phone with a slide-out keyboard; the HTC Incredible sold by Verizon has been flying off store shelves; and even Google’s Nexus One still boasts some of the latest hardware. Not to mention new Android phones from Samsung and LG (SEO: 066570) coming later this summer.
To evaluate the competition Apple is facing, we are providing both a rundown of the top smartphone makers in the U.S. and the latest Android phones currently on sale in the market. See both after the jump, and then check back in with us tomorrow for full coverage of Apple’s WWDC opening keynote by Steve Jobs.
Market share: While Android’s market share is gaining among smartphones in the U.S., Apple and RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) still have a sizable lead. RIM’s in first place with 35 percent of the market; Apple is in second with 28 percent; Windows Mobile is in third with 19 percent, and Android is in fourth with 9 percent, according to new research released by Nielsen. However, the market dynamic is changing quickly. In the first quarter, Android and iPhone