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Android's US market share continues to slip

Don't look now, Andy, but the iPhone is gaining on you

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Apple may be taking its lumps these days – what with a falling share price, pesky activist investors, troubles in China, and the like – but there's one important area in which Cupertino is steadily gaining ground: US smartphone sales.

For the past 100 months, the stat-happy analysts at comScore have been tracking mobile-device subscriber counts with their MobiLens service, and the past few months have shown an interesting trend: in the US, the market share of Android-based smartphones is slipping, and iPhone market share is rising.

US smartphone market share by operating system

Remember, past performance is no guarantee of future results (data source: comScore)

To be sure, Android smartphones still hold a 51.7 per cent to 38.9 per cent lead over the iPhone in comScore's latest report, which calculates stats on a three-month rolling average, but that 12.8 per cent lead is down substantially from just last October, when the differential stood at 19.3 per cent.

What's more, Android devices actually dropped in market share during that period, despite the help of BlackBerry (née RIM), which sank from 7.8 per cent to 5.4 per cent – and which, by the way, stood at a comparatively healthy 16 per cent as 2011 drew to a close.

It's also interesting to note the sales trends of the iPhone versus the most popular Android-smartphone manufacturer, Samsung. Apple's market share continues to rise while Samsung's has flattened.

US smartphone market share by manufacturer

Statistics may need to be taken with a grain of salt, but trends do emerge (data source: comScore)

The Korean electronics giant's smartphone sales could, of course, be boosted in future comScore reports after its Galaxy S 4 ships in late April; it'll be interesting to see if it'll boost Samsung's fortunes – and, for that matter, if the company's market share dips further before that release.

When viewing these trends, it's obviously important to keep in mind that the figures cited are for the US only – Android still handily rules the roost in most analyses of worldwide market share and shows no signs of slowing down in many markets.

One final caveat: different analysts use different means to calculate market share numbers, so your favorite bean-counting group may come to a different conclusion. MobiLens, however, has been around since 2005, and perhaps your Reg reporter's personal fast-approaching elderliness has taught him to respect longevity. ®

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