Apple's iPhone market share rises on Verizon sales; Android share drops
Apple's iPhone lineup was pushed into the third spot in smartphone market share in the first three months of the year, due in large part to the added sales from Verizon of the iPhone 4, according to a research firm.
In the first quarter of 2011 Apple's cellphone sales reached 14% of the U.S. market, according to the NPD Group, which set the Cupertino tech giant ahead of rivals HTC, Motorola and Research In Motion.
Only Samsung, with a leading 23% share of the U.S. cellphone market, and LG (18% share), beat out Apple from the start of January to the end of March.
Apple, along with AT&T and Verizon, is no doubt hoping to sell even more iPhones. After about 10 months of delays, the white iPhone 4 went on sale on Thursday at Apple, AT&T and Verizon stores.
"Apple and Verizon had a very successful launch of the iPhone 4, which allowed the iPhone to expand its market share that was previously held back by its prolonged carrier exclusivity with AT&T," said Ross Rubin, NPD's executive director of industry analysis. "While some of that growth came at the expense of Android operating system (OS), Android models still accounted for half of all smartphones sold in the quarter."
While Android is still the most widely used OS on smartphones in the U.S., its market share fell in the first quarter to 50%, from 53% in the previous quarter, the NPD Group said.
The decline is Android's first since the second quarter of 2009. Apple's iOS gained market share, jumping to 28% from 19% the previous quarter, while Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS fell to 14% from 19% a quarter earlier, the research firm said.
Verizon began selling the iPhone 4 in February, which solidified the Apple smartphone as the top-selling cellphone in the U.S., the NPD Group said.
The Apple iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, and HTC Droid Incredible filled out the research firm's top-five most popular cellphones for the first quarter.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A customer tries an Apple iPhone 4 at a Verizon store in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: Paul Sakuma /Associated Press