Google, Apple Keep Gobbling Smartphone Share from RIM: comScore

Google's Android smartphones and Apple's iPhone continue to rack up U.S. smartphone share at the expense of Research in Motion, comScore said.

Google's Android smartphone share rose to 34.7 percent in March, up from 33 percent in February, according to new comScore mobile subscriber stats released May 6.

Google is expected to make some significant announcements regarding its Android platform May 10 at its Google I/O developer show.

Apple's iPhone share ticked up to 25.5 percent from 25.2 percent over the same period, suggesting that the Verizon iPhone 4 is continuing to attract some buyers.

ComScore said Apple's actual hardware market share grew 1.1 percent to 7.9 percent, thanks to Verizon's iPhone 4 sales. Apple will reportedly not launch an iPhone 5 this summer, though it is expected to tether its next iPhone more closely with cloud-computing offerings.

Research in Motion's Blackberry market share continued its swoon in March, falling to 27 percent, from 28.9 percent through February, according to the researcher.

The declines aren't new or random; Blackberry share stood at 30.4 percent in January and was as high as 33.4 percent in November before Google and Apple captured a strong holiday season, knocking RIM from the top smartphone perch Android now commands.

RIM just closed its 10th annual Blackberry World developer's conference by giving out over 6,000 PlayBook tablet computers to the show's attendees.

The company also announced significant mobile-device management software for enterprises, including the ability to segment work and play content and manage Apple iOS and Android handsets and tablets

However, the company showed off only one major new phone, the Blackberry Bold 9900.

While this thin device appeared to be a quality entry with a 3.1-inch touch-screen and a QWERTY keyboard, RIM irked analysts by failing to provide satisfactory guidance for smartphones based on the PlayBook's QNX operating system.

RIM isn't the only suffering smartphone maker.

Microsoft Windows Phone isn't faring much better, falling to 7.5 percent from 7.7 percent U.S. share. The company continues to struggle with platform updates for its new phones.

The struggles of RIM and Microsoft, coupled with the long overdue retrenching of Nokia, reaffirm pundits' predictions that the smartphone market is increasingly becoming a two-horse race between Google and Apple.

Time will tell if newbedfellows Nokia and Microsoft can help turn each other's fortunes around, first overseas, and then in the U.S.