April 4, 2011 at 11:35 AM ET
In the U.S., one in three smartphones are powered by Google's Android mobile operating system, pulling it ahead of the pack and thrashing Apple's iOS with a gain of 7 percentage points from November to February vs. the latter's paltry 0.2 percent gain for the same time period.
The recent report released by comScore must come as sweet news to Google, which has in two years made an epic leap over longstanding mobile phone platforms at Research in Motion, Microsoft and Palm with a 33 percent market share and has only Apple as its true competition in the smartphone platform cage fight to end all fights.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
At least one research firm, Canalys, has already crowned Android as the world's most popular smartphone operating system.
The comScore study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers during the three month period ending February 2011 and found, of all the companies that manufacture Android phones, Samsung is the top dog, overall, with a 24.8 percent market share.
But for the month of February, the Verizon iPhone Apple was the most acquired handset. (Shocking!) Because of that, Apple had the biggest gain amongst OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer), up 0.9 percentage points to account for 7.5 percent of subscribers. Despite that gain, Apple was still at the bottom of the pile that saw Samsung firmly on top, with LG and Motorola pulling in respectable shares of 20.9 percent and 16.1 percent, while RIM languished just above Apple at 8.6 percent of the 234 million Americans ages 13 and older who use mobile devices.
Moving away from hardware to the mobile operating system, Google padded its lead with a gain of seven percentage points since November, with Android finding a firm grip amongst the 69.5 million people in the U.S. who reported owning smartphones, which gained in popularity with a 13 percent increase.
With the surge in new Verizon iPhone users, Apple saw a modest gain of 0.2 percent for its iOS, while RIM, Microsoft and Palm took more hits. RIM took the biggest body blow with a loss of 4.6 percentage points, dropping to 28.9 percent. But it still shows the resilience of BlackBerry, which is all that stands between Apple and a second-place finish behind Google in smartphone platform market shares.
In other information gathered by the comScore report, texting remains the overwhelming activity of U.S.-based mobile phone subscribers, with nearly 69 percent reporting sending SMS usage. Nearly 39 percent used the browser and nearly 37 percent downloaded apps. The biggest gain in usage came from those accessing social networking sites or blogs (Facebook, anyone?), which rose from 23.5 percent to 26.8 percent.
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