Jason Mick (Blog) - March 8, 2012 7:21 PM
ComScore, a leader in market research on mobile devices, publishes data on smartphone market share by device maker on a three-month basis. The results offer some interesting perspective, as they are one-month out of alignment with calendar quarters -- the window most other market research firms deliver their data on.
For Nov. and Dec. 2011, plus Jan. 2012, Android sustained a 2.3 percent growth pace. Meanwhile Apple managed an impressive 1.4 percent growth. These numbers reflect strong sales of the iPhone 4S reported by America's top wireless carriers during the holiday season .
Looking ahead to 2012, the biggest question is whether Apple will be able to keep accelerating its growth to the point where it once more becomes a serious threat to Android. Despite its strong quarter, Apple's iPhones are still outnumbered by Android devices 3-to-2 in the U.S. market.
In terms of overall mobile device sales (including feature phones), Apple was the only OEM in the top five to post a gain.
However, that figure is a bit deceptive as Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930) 0.1 percent dip or Google's almost-subsidiary Motorola Mobility's larger 0.4 decline, are arguably a healthy sign, in that -- combined with the overall large Android growth -- they represent a customer migration to feature phones. As it takes several feature phones to equal the profits of a single smartphone, these numbers ultimately look promising for Samsung and Motorola.
But they're also very good for Apple, who not only grew fast, but also slightly grew its OEM market share. That represents that some feature phone ditchers are jumping ship to Apple for their first smartphone. And considering Apple as much as an order of magnitude more profits per-device than Android phonemakers, it's evident why Apple is sustaining its position as the world's most profitable electronics company.
Many first time smartphone buyers are choosing Apple's premium-priced devices.
[Image Source: Device Mag]
The picture isn't pretty for Ontario-based Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) or Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) both of whom slid in market share. RIM has big plans to reimagine itself in 2012 by cutting its fees and debuting new BlackBerry 10 OS (QNX-derivative) devices. Likewise, Microsoft's partner Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) is stepping up its game  and other partners also have LTE Windows Phones on or approaching the market.