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Android Pulls Ahead, While HTC Enjoys the Ride

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Android (s goog) in the U.S. pushed ahead of smartphone platform rivals iOS (s aapl) and Blackberry (s rimm) in January, according to Nielsen Wire, and is finding more popularity among younger consumers. That has helped HTC become the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. after Apple and Research In Motion, winning both the Android and Windows Phone 7 (s msft) manufacturing race ahead of rivals Motorola (s mmi) and Samsung.

The latest figures for January from Nielsen show that Android’s current market share has moved up to 29 percent from 27 percent in December following a torrid year of growth in 2010, while iOS dropped a point from 28 percent to 27 percent, remaining largely stable over the last year. RIM remained constant from January at 27 percent, but it’s still trying to reverse a significant slide over the last year. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile comes in with 10 percent, while Hewlett-Packard’s (s hpq) webOS and Palm OS account for 4 percent and Symbian (s nok) just 2 percent.

In the overall battle of manufacturers, however, Apple and RIM are tops with 27 percent each because they own their hardware and platforms. But among manufacturing vendors who build for other platforms, HTC has managed to best rivals on both Android and Windows Phone 7. It has a combined 19 percent of the market, with 12 percent on Android and 7 percent on Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile. Motorola has 11 percent: 10 percent coming from Android and 1 percent from WP7 and Windows Mobile. Samsung has about 7 percent of the U.S. smartphone market with 5 percent of the overall share from Android and 2 percent from Microsoft’s platforms.

Motorola has hitched its wagon to Android, which limits its sales potential for now. HTC has gotten ahead by embracing both Android and Microsoft’s OSes, something Samsung is also doing. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of effect Nokia (s nok) will have in the U.S. market when it starts selling WP7 devices, possibly before the end of this year. It has just 2 percent of the smartphone manufacturing market from the sale of Symbian phones. So very few Americans are used to buying a Nokia smartphone, but that could change with Microsoft’s software and branding.

Android, meanwhile, appears to be doing well selling to younger consumers. Six percent of its sales are to 18-24 year olds, ahead of iOS and RIM at 4 percent. That Android is selling 50 percent better to this demographic suggests that younger users are responding to the breadth of device choices and price points. It bodes well for Android as the smartphone market expands. Capturing younger users is good for long-term sales as younger users make the jump up from more messaging phones.

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16 Responses to “Android Pulls Ahead, While HTC Enjoys the Ride”

  1. freediverx

    Android will likely gain the largest market share since it’s become the default OS for cheap/free smartphones. However, the sort of folks who buy Android phones buy far fewer apps and generally spend less overall, which doesn’t makes them a very lucrative market beyond the initial low profit phone sale. For the most part, people buy Android phones because they’re cheap, and these buyers have lower customer satisfaction levels with little to no platform loyalty.

    Apple’s iOS market share will decline, but their sales number will continue to grow as they lead the market in terms of innovation, user experience, brand loyalty and profitability. The platform’s market will also grow due to the iPad’s popularity combined with virtually nonexistent tablet competition – at least for the next year. Meanwhile, developers are quickly learning that its far easier and more efficient to develop for iOS than for Android’s fragmented market and that it’s much harder for them to make money on Android apps due to rampant piracy and cheapskate device owners.

    Windows 7 would have no chance of competing in this arena were it not for their recent deal with Nokia. As a result of that deal, they have an opportunity to absorb the low end of the market that is currently dominated by cheap Nokia feature phones. However, as smartphone prices decline and data plans remain expensive, there’s little chance that Windows 7 will even nibble at the existing smartphone

    RIM is completely dead in the water though their two CEOs are still in a state of denial.

  2. motorola hitching its wagon to Android…limiting its sales potential.
    I assume you mean they haven’t taken on WP7. Like there is any immediate profit potential from that half-baked platform, that’s an Apple wannabe, that can’t get an update to be able to do updates out. A platform that is going to screw ever other OEM in favor of Nokiasoft. That’s the opportunity, in your judgement, Motorola is missing. Don’t quit your day job.

  3. I’m disappointed you’ve chosen facebook comment over Disqus.

    It will only widen even more, people will want something different after owning one or two iPhones. Who wants to use the same phone every year?

    • Same phone each year – The iPhone is not exactly the same phone each year but even if it was, they would because they have a large investment (apps, etc) in the ecosystem. This was never the case with feature phones and may not be with android-based phones either if reports about how little owners spend on apps is accurate.

  4. anthony

    Currently deciding between an android or windows phone on AT&T. I’m leaning towards the Samsung Focus since WP7 has a much smoother browser and nicer looking apps. Tough decision since Android currently has more apps and I like Google services, but WP7 already has 10,000 apps and I think after the Fall update the OS will be much better than Android. Also gaming and music is much better on Windows phone.

  5. LindyLay

    I know it’s a tough pill to swallow iOS fans, but deep down you know that the gap is only going to widen & Apple will be left fighting for a distant 2nd-4th places with HP & MS in the next 2-3yrs.

    the part thats really going to hurt is when developers shift their focus to Android & iOS gets stuck with ports if anything at all. if Android gets 80%+ marketshare then devs will have little need to develop elsewhere, as with the Windows/Mac wars that Apple lost so badly.

    Jobs is a fast starter, but blows it around the 20yard mark.

      • Have you ever stopped to think for a second that maybe some of those youngsters have brains and want a complete device with very good hardware and software instead a mediocre one marketed as “fabulous”? Maybe some of them want the possibility to customize the phone they paid for as they please and are unwilling to join Jobs’ pathetic show? On the long run people will realize it takes more to create complete phones or tabs than repeating to obsession easy, simple, seamless, fantastic etc. Yesterday’ show with the “copycats” becomes so hilarious when you stop and think that the ipad copied the dual core approach of the other tablets or the dual cameras. When all you have to throw at your competition is a petty joke its clear you’re affraid of them.

    • Jared Klett

      This theoretical developer shift is not going to happen any time soon. What matters is developers making a living, not which platform moves more units and “wins” this “war”.

      As a developer, I would rather earn $20 selling my app on the iOS platform than $2 on Android. In addition, the 18-24 demographic isn’t going to pay the $2.99 for an app as readily as 25-35 and up will.

      I could be wrong. Time will tell. In the meantime, the iOS platform will continue to earn the lion’s share of profits and app revenue.

  6. Darwin

    Android is “selling well” to younger consumers, or more likely their parents, because they are pretty much giving the phones away. Carriers, manufacturers, and Google are not making much money from Android though which is why they are all desperate to get the iPhone and why Verizon bent over backwards to do it. Windows Phone 7? Not a contender and insignificant in terms of sell through.

    • bplewis24

      This just goes to show how stupid apple defenders actually are. The carriers from google and android are making more money than ever have. Go look at htc’s stock if you don’t believe it.

      Keep thinking of excuses for apples lack of success, but this is only the beginning.

    • Thomas Wen

      Android single handedly skyrocketed HTC stock to the most expensive on the Taiwanese Stock Exchange and granted them the fourth highest market cap in Taiwan.

      Not only that but it literally doubled their phone sales last year (Feburary sales in their home turf of Taiwan also doubled from last year) and HTC is looking to triple their phone sales this year.

      I want you say that such profits is “not much money” with a straight face. Even if you are a multi billionaire, you would still not call 1.1 billion dollars in revenue chump change.

      Not making money my arse… Apple fans really are stupid.