While the overall U.S. smart phone market is growing, phones running the Android platform gained market share in a quarter when every other top-5 contender lost some, including Apple's iPhones and RIM's BlackBerrys, according to a study from market research firm ComScore.
Before we look at the melee, it's important to note that the overall smart phone market is up 8.1 percent in May, compared with three months prior, according to ComScore's report, and now counts 49.1 million Americans as owners.
While everyone surged ahead with the tide, Google's little Android went further. Android's market share rose from 9 percent to 13 percent, while Apple's iPhone market share wobbled from 25.4 percent to 24.4 percent. BlackBerry's commanding lead faltered, albeit almost imperceptibly, from 42.1 percent to 41.7 percent.
Microsoft had the biggest drop, from 15.1 percent to 13.2 percent, but that's expected because the company has announced its intention to introduce a completely revamped smart phone platform this fall. The new line of phones will bear little resemblance to — and share no compatible apps with — the currently sold Windows Mobile phones. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Palm, the underdog, fell as well, from an already tenuous 5.4 percent to 4.8 percent.
Apple's lag can be written off plainly: iPhones tend to launch in June or July, and the period measured here tends to be when the anticipation builds. Those people who can wait until summer know they'll be rewarded. This year the payoff was even more clear, as Apple's iPhone 4 leaked early. All indications suggest that any losses marked in the period ComScore measured here will be made up in the following period.
Surprisingly, the news is probably bitterest for RIM, who may view this as a sign of general lack of momentum. A lot of people want to know what's next for the BlackBerry, and whether it can hold its edge against the Apple and Google juggernauts.