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Here’s a Big Surprise: Apple Still the #1 Smartphone Vendor

By: Aldo Panessidi

The latest results are in for NPD Group’s monthly Mobile Phone Track service. It looks like Apple retails it’s top seat as the #1 smartphone vendor in the U.S.

Smartphone Market Share

Apple’s market ownership continues to strengthen. It’s market share increased by 7% in the first quarter year-over-year. In the past year, Apple’s iPhones were responsible for 29% of all smartphone sales in the U.S. Samsung with Its Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tablets seems to be the only company breathing anywhere down Apple’s neck.

I wrote another blog indicating that Samsung currently has the titles for the world’s largest smartphone vendor and largest overall mobile phone vendor. In the last year, Samsung recorded huge market share growth of 140%. That gives them ownership of 24% share of the market.

Why the confusion? Many analyst interpret market data differently... in addition a giant like Apple would react fervently to any news saying that its market position has been upset

Apple and Samsung together are responsible for 53% of all smartphones sold in the U.S. LG, HTC, Motorola and RIM sales continue to fall.

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“Samsung is the only market leader from the feature phone era to transition to market leadership in the smartphone era in the U.S.,” said NPD analyst Ross Rubin. “Its broad carrier support and advertising – particularly in the ascendant pre-paid segment – have helped it achieve the highest market share among Android handset providers in the U.S.”

Samsung vs Apple

NPD also reported that Google’s Android operating system is the highest selling mobile platform. Android use is trending in the right direction, and it regained some of the ground it had previously lost to Apple.

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Android smartphone sales grew 24% over the last quarter of 2011 to 61% of the market. Apple iPhone sales are down significantly. The high of 41% in the last quarter is now 29%, a decline of 29%.

Apple is still the People’s Phone. Regardless of what the market share number shows, Apple’s iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS still hold the top three spots in NPD’s overall handset ranking for first quarter of 2012. Samsung’s Galaxy S2 and HTC’s EVO 3D round out the top five.

Rubin tries to explain what the poll number show: “After some release of pent-up demand from customers adopting the iPhone 4S, coupled with the company’s strength in the holiday season, Apple’s share fell in the first quarter, as we’ve often see it do in the quarter following its introduction of a new handset. Now that the iPhone is available on Sprint, though, the increased carrier coverage has created a higher baseline for Apple’s share than we have seen in the past.”

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