Smartphones

Q3 stats show Android and iPhone surging past BlackBerry

The numbers are in for Q3 2010 smartphone sales and there's great news for Google Android, some mixed results for Apple iPhone, and a lot of red flags for BlackBerry.

The numbers are in for Q3 2010 smartphone sales and there's great news for Google Android, some mixed results for Apple iPhone, and a lot of red flags for BlackBerry.

If you've followed the technology industry in general and the mobile market specifically in 2010 then it's no secret that all of the momentum in the smartphone category is happening around Android and iPhone. However, all of the buzz and interest that these two platforms have generated hasn't reflected as strongly in the market share numbers -- until now.

On Monday, both Canalys and NPD released research reports on Q3 smartphone sales. While the numbers weren't exactly the same from the two research houses, the big picture conclusions were nearly identical. Here's a quick summary of the two reports.

NPD

The NPD report, which focused on US sales, found that Android was installed on 44% of the smartphones sold in Q3 (vs. 33% in Q2), iPhone's iOS was installed on 23% (vs. 22% in Q2), and BlackBerry OS was installed on 22% (vs. 28% in Q2).

As you can see in the chart below, the Q3 results were also a major shake-up of where the US smartphone market was a year ago.

In terms of consumer purchases, NPD's Mobile Phone Track had the following phones as the top sellers in Q3. (Keep in mind that this unit sales metric doesn't include enterprise sales, which benefit BlackBerry, and to a lesser extent, iPhone).

  1. Apple iPhone 4
  2. BlackBerry Curve 8500
  3. Motorola Droid X
  4. HTC EVO 4G

NPD executive director Ross Rubin said, "Much of Android's quarterly share growth came at the expense of RIM [BlackBerry], rather than Apple. The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide."

On the issue of Android taking share from iPhone, Rubin said, "The iPhone has held its own at AT&T, but Apple faces challenges in further expanding its domestic market share, while still retaining exclusivity." In other words, the iPhone is begin to saturate the market of current and potential AT&T customers in the US. Thus, the iPhone's greatest US growth opportunity will come from expanding to additional carriers, and the biggest of those opportunities will come from the long-rumored Verizon iPhone, which is reported to arrive in early 2011.

Canalys

According to Canalys, the global smartphone market grew by 95% year-over-over with over 80 million units shipped in Q3 2010. In terms of the top phone makers worldwide, Nokia remained in the lead with 33% market, while Apple (17%) passed RIM (15%) for second place. When you take all of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) devices (running Android) together, they represent 25% of the global market and its fastest-growing segment.

In the US market, Canalys found that Apple is now the single largest phone marker with 26.2% of the market, passing RIM at 24.2%. However, if you take all of the OHA devices running Android from the various vendors and combine them together then they represent 43.6% of the US smartphone market.

Canalys Senior Analyst Pete Cunningham said,

"With Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony Ericsson all delivering large numbers of Android devices, and with focused efforts from many other vendors, such as LG, Huawei and Acer, yielding promising volumes, the platform continues to gather momentum in markets around the world. Android has been well received by the market and in some geographies it is becoming a sought-after consumer brand. It has rapidly become the platform to watch, and its growing volumes will help to entice developers, ensuring consumers have access to an increasingly rich and vibrant mobile content and application ecosystem. Vendors are now delivering Android devices across a broad range of price points, from high-end products such as the Samsung Galaxy S or HTC Desire, to aggressively priced devices such as the LG GT540 Optimus or the Huawei built Vodafone 845, ensuring that Android devices are available and affordable to consumers on almost any budget."

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

8 comments
mr.RichardWright
mr.RichardWright

I find the information a bit lacking. Credit for the disclaimer on not having enterprise sales, which would likely boost the numbers for RIM. Today's markets are global, so only showing US numbers are not very informative for corporate performance. My take away is Android is gaining strong market share. It'll be interesting to see end of year numbers that will include Windows latest offering. Will the picture change?...

mtwessel
mtwessel

Correct me if I'm wrong, but these numbers from either analyst group only track NEW SALES for the quarter, right? Have you seen any metrics on the average lifespan of a smartphone before its replaced? And as already commented, they also only track CONSUMER purchasing, correct? The data here is still informative, yes. But not very conclusive when so many corporations today contract a fleet of mobile devices. Jason, any other sources (even if its direct releases from RIM) to help flavor this data with ALL sales to get a more accurate picture of the current market share?

dougj32
dougj32

Blackberyy is dead without a larger screen

MLFManager
MLFManager

I have been hearing these rather dubious predictions of the Blackberry?s demise for years, and none of them have come to pass. Blackberry remains the top device in the business world, with iPhone gaining ground, but Android devices are not impacting the enterprise space nearly as much as the consumer space, so if you were to factor in these numbers I believe you would get a significantly different result. Without the enterprise numbers the reports are meaningless.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

1. Most US consumers aren't choosing BlackBerry when they go to buy a phone - even when they plan to use it primarily for business purposes. 2. US enterprises are not supplying as many smartphones to employees these days. Many professionals have their own devices (typically Android and iPhone), and many IT departments have decided it's cheaper and easier to support existing devices than to try to keep these employees from using their devices to do work or pushing a BlackBerry on them to use instead of their personal phone. Now, BlackBerry is experiencing some global growth due to carrier relationships and inexpensive devices.

soniqbuoy
soniqbuoy

As RIM did not release (pretty much) any new phones in Q3 (at least outside the US), I wonder how many people held off buying one because they are waiting for the new models, or bought another type of phone instead? It's a bit like saying the average price for a house went up xx% when you sold 100 houses in the 1 million dollar mark and 10 in the low end. And then report the following month that housing prices went down when you sold 10 houses in the top end and 1000 houses in the lower end of the market.

MLFManager
MLFManager

1. I would say that is a somewhat misleading statement. Most consumers don?t ?choose? Android either. They go for the phone that they like, and they have very little, if any, understanding of what software it?s running, nor do they care. The iPhone is packaged as an appealing consumer product, and the new Blackberry Torch is starting to take the same approach. The typical small business user with one or two devices may not go for a Blackberry, but most large enterprises prefer it for the increased security and control over the devices, and for the fact that most large companies have an existing infrastructure supporting the Blackberry. 2. I have yet to have anyone say no when offered a Blackberry device for work, and I have never had to "push" one on anyone. As a matter of fact, with the release of the Torch, I have had an increased number of users inquiring about getting one. I can also tell you, that from an IT Manager?s perspective, it is by no means cheaper or easier to support the myriad of personal devices out there rather than one standard platform. As for keeping users from using their personal devices for business, if you give them a Blackberry they will use it and save the hours on their personal device for themselves.

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