New statistics from comScore show that Apple and Google are both gaining ground in the battle for smartphone market share in the United States. Perhaps, as Google indicated when introducing the Nexus One, the iPhone and Android platforms are really next-generation "superphones" and the comparison with "normal" smartphones is unfair.
RIM, maker of all things BlackBerry, still has a solid grip on first place, carrying just under 42 percent of the market for the fourth quarter of 2009. However, RIM did decline from Q3, as did Microsoft, and Palm.
Apple gobbled up 1.2 percent of the other platforms' losses, inching above 25 percent market share for smartphones in the United States and solidly in second place for the foreseeable future. If the rate of RIM's losses and Apple's gains continue at the pace seen this past quarter, the iPhone would pass the BlackBerry as the dominant smartphone by this time in 2012.
Google's smartphone market share more than doubled during the fourth quarter of 2009. Of course, it started at only 2.5 percent of the overall market and doubled to just over 5 percent, still in last place just under a percent below Palm.
Like its Web browser sibling Chrome, the Android statistics are a little less impressive when viewed through that lens. However, again assuming gains and losses consistent with this past quarter, at the rate Android grew it would actually pass BlackBerry and jump into second place by mid-2012, and be in a position to challenge Apple for first place by 2013. Not too shabby for the new kid on the block.
One interesting aspect of the comScore report, though, is the gap between smartphones, and mobile phones in general. While smartphones like the iPhone and the Droid get all of the attention, and media headlines make it seem as if smartphones are the only devices being developed, Apple doesn't even make the list for overall mobile phone market share, and first place smartphone platform RIM drags in at last place for mobile phones in general at only seven percent.
Apple has certainly made strides to make the iPhone a more business-friendly platform, but it could be as popular in the board room as it is in the living room if Apple would do more to provide some sort of iPhone equivalent to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server to provide IT administrators with more control over the devices.
Some sort of alliance with Microsoft--providing native Microsoft apps for core business applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, would also radically change the smartphone landscape and help Apple leapfrog RIM in a fraction of the time it will take at the current pace.