Android Handsets and Apple iPhone Best Smartphones?

Apple and Google may be on a seeming collision course, but when it comes to the mobile market they are the two big winners. The losers? Most everyone else.

comScore found that over a three-month period from September to December 2009, those two gained market share while Research in Motion, Palm and Microsoft all lost ground. Considering it was a short period, only one quarter, and that mobile phone customers are locked into hardware for two years, even the smallest of changes is a noteworthy shift.

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android more than doubled its market share, from 2.5 percent of the smartphone market in September to 5.2 percent by December. As a growing participant such a ramp is not too surprising but it is still a good showing for a new player in a market full of established veterans.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the only other gainer, rising to 25.3 percent from 24.1 percent three months earlier. It remains in second place behind RIM, which is still a dominant 41.6 percent of the smartphone market. RIM was down one percentage point from 42.6 percent in September.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) also dipped one percentage point, from 19 percent to 18 percent. The big loser is Palm, down from 8.3 percent to 6.1 percent in just three months, and that's with the highly-regarded Pre and newer Pixi phones available

While smartphones are popular in the U.S., the mobile phone market still belongs to basic cell phones. Motorola still rules the overall market, despite all of its problems, holding 23.5 percent of the market. It lost 1.4 percentage points from September. LG crept up 0.2 percentage points to 21.9 percent and second place.

Rounding out the top five were Samsung with 21.2 percent, up 0.8 percentage points, Nokia at 9.2 percent, down 0.4 percentage points, and RIM, with 7.0 percent of the market, up 0.6 percentage points over September.

Mobile phone usage habits haven't changed much, according to comScore.

In December 2009, 63.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 2.1 percentage points from September. That was followed by Web browsing, up 1.5 percentage points to 27.5 percent; gaming, up 0.2 percentage points to 21.6 percent; downloading apps rose 1.1 percentage points to 17.8 percent; 15.9 percent used their phone to access social networks, up 2.1; and 12.1 percent listened to music, up 0.4 percentage points.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Android, mobile, Apple, smartphone, RIM