Smartphone Software Wars: Android Rules, Apple Steady, RIM Declines
New stats are out for the most popular operating systems in the highly competitive smartphone marketplace, and they show that Google's Android platform is eating the lunch of Research in Motion's (RIM) – the makers of BlackBerry – while Apple's share has remained steady.
The figures from market research firm NPD indicate that Android was installed on 44 percent of all smartphones purchased in the third quarter, a big spike of 11 points since the second quarter.
RIM saw its share precipitously drop to 22 percent from 28 percent back in quarter two. Meanwhile, Apple's iOS that runs on its iPhone line gained a point to stand at 23 percent.
"Much of Android’s quarterly share growth came at the expense of RIM, rather than Apple," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD.
Key to the surge of Android was a number of high-profile handset introductions, Rubin explained.
"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," he said.
The long-view tells a scarier story for RIM: A year-on-year comparison (see chart above) shows that its smartphone operating system market share has dropped 53 percent. In other words, just a year ago over half of smartphones sold had RIM's platform, while Android had only three – yes, three – percent compared to its current dominance at 44 percent.
It's not all doom and gloom for RIM, however. The company's BlackBerry Curve 8500 series was the second bestselling mobile phone of the third quarter, NPD also reports.
In fact, four out of the top five selling handsets were smartphones, demonstrating that these gadgets are indeed all the rage.
The top selling mobile phone during the past three months was Apple's new iPhone 4, and the Motorola Droid X and HTC EVO 4G took the fourth and fifth spots. A messaging phone, the LG Cosmos, sold well enough to claim the third spot.