Android Rose, Apple Fell in Quarterly Users: ComScore

Android smartphones saw gains in U.S. market share between February and May 2010, as Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion and Palm all saw slight declines for their own smartphones. Those numbers from research firm comScore could very well be different next quarter, following the release of the iPhone 4 and several strong Android devices.

Google Android was the only smartphone operating system to see its U.S. subscriber percentage increase in the three-month period between February and May 2010, according to new data from research firm comScore. Microsoft, Research In Motion, Apple and Palm all saw their share of the market decline during those three months, but not precipitously.

Although RIM's BlackBerry franchise continued to hold the overall lead in U.S. subscribers, with 41.7 percent of the market, it faced a slight 0.4 percent decline. Apple came in second place with 24.4 percent of the market, a drop over the three-month period of 1 point. In third was Microsoft, which slid 1.9 percent to a 13.2-percent share. Meanwhile, Palm-recently acquired by Hewlett-Packard-dipped from 5.4 percent to 4.8 percent.

During the period, however, Google increased its share from 9 percent to 13 percent.

The news was rosier for Google's competitors than those numbers suggest, according to comScore. "Despite losing share to Google Android, most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers as the smartphone market overall continues to grow," the firm wrote in a July 8 press release accompanying the results, adding that 49.1 million people in the United States currently own smartphones.

Those numbers will likely change over the course of the summer, given the recent introduction of Apple's iPhone 4 and several robust Google Android smartphones.

During the three days following its June 24 launch, the iPhone 4 managed to sell 1.7 million units. "This is the most successful product launch in Apple's history," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in a June 28 statement. "Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply."

However, Apple soon found itself playing defense, after some users reported that touching the device's exterior antenna rim reduced their reception to zero. Apple responded first with a statement that suggested users experiencing the issue should switch how they hold the smartphone, or else keep the device in a case; as the controversy continued to gain momentum, though, Apple then released another statement on July 2 stating that "the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong."

The company then promised to push through a software update that would fix the issue. In the meantime, its Android-based rivals wasted no time posting ads that mocked Apple's troubles. Verizon ran a full-page ad in The New York Times, for example, suggesting that the Motorola Droid X could be held "any way you like and use it just about anywhere."

Strong Android sales have boosted the quarterly results of smartphone manufacturers such as HTC, which posted profits of $268 million for the second quarter of 2010. The hope on the part of these companies is that new devices such as the HTC Evo 4G, Samsung Galaxy S and Motorola Droid X will all gain more adopters-and if that happens, expect the comScore numbers to reflect that action next quarter.