Android surpasses iPhone, BlackBerry in 3Q U.S. sales

By Cecilia Kang
Monday, November 1, 2010; 11:18 AM

Steve Jobs's criticism aside, Google's Android operating system continued to be the most popular smart phone platform in the third quarter, according to a report by NPD Group.

The research consulting firm said Android captured 44 percent of all smart phone sales in the third quarter, compared to 23 percent of the market held by Apple's iPhone operating system.

The year-on-year comparisons told the biggest stories: Android rose to 44 percent from 3 percent in the third quarter of 2009. Research in Motion's BlackBerry fell in popularity to 22 percent from 46 percent. Apple's operating system dropped to 23 percent from 29 percent in the same period last year.

Android surpassed Apple's iPhone as the most popular smart phone platform in the second quarter, with 28 percent share, according to Nielsen.

But as seen with Apple's record iPhone sales last quarter, analysts said Android's success hurt RIM more than the iPhone maker. And during the quarter, the sales of Android by more carriers and device makers took off.

"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." Ross Rubin, executive director of NPD.

Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones from July through September, more than the 12 million or so analysts were looking for.

In their earnings call, Apple CEO Steve Jobs touted his own "integrated" approach to software and device design to Android, which he called "fragmented."

"When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time," Jobs said.

"Even if Google were right and the real issue is closed versus open, it's worthwhile to remember that open systems don't always win," he said.

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