Two analyst houses are out Monday morning reporting similar findings: Android is more popular in the U.S. than Apple, and both are squeezing RIM out of the market. Android is on 44 percent of American phones – up 11 points since the previous quarter. Meanwhile, Apple’s iOS has relatively flat growth – up 1 point to 23 percent, according to consumer research firm NPD.
RIM, despite its Curve 8500 being the second most popular phone behind the iPhone 4, lost 6 points in the third quarter.
Canalys echoed NDP. The Open Handset Alliance (which uses Android) shipped 9.1 million handsets in the third quarter, or 44 percent of smartphones. That’s up from 34 percent of the segment in the previous quarter. Apple shipped 5.5 million phones, giving it 26.2 percent of the market, the analyst firm announced. Like the NPD numbers, the Canalys figures show Apple edging out RIM, which shipped 5.1 million handsets for 24.2 percent of the market.
Apple may gain traction against Android in 2011 if it sells iPhones through another carrier besides AT&T. Although Verizon seems to be the most often named, don’t count out T-Mobile, or even Sprint.
As for RIM, the Canadian phone maker seems particularly vulnerable to Android encroachment.
“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,” NPD’s Ross Rubin said..