Apple’s iPhone Passes RIM’s BlackBerry for Top Spot in US Smartphone Market Share

Smartphones now command nearly 30% of the larger phone market in the US according to Nielson. Even more interesting is the fact that according to the company’s survey, Apple’s iPhone has passed RIM’s BlackBerry for the lead in smartphone operating systems.  The iPhone commands 27.9% of the market while the BlackBerry holds on at 27.4%. Android has almost caught up with an impressive 22.7% of the market.

Of course, other surveys show Google’s Android has already passed both Apple and RIM for smartphone dominance in the US. Some even claim numbers as high as 44% for Android (NPD Group) with iOS at 23% and BlackBerry at 22%. Which numbers are accurate? That’s a very tough call. There’s no doubt that the iPhone is the most popular smartphone model in the country but strong competition from Samsung, Motorola and HTC have made Android devices ubiquitous. Look around. Do you ever see any smartphones that aren’t Android, BlackBerry or iPhone? Not many I bet.

What makes comparisons between iOS, Android and BlackBerry even harder is that Apple’s iPad tablet already has a big head start on the Android tablets coming out and RIM’s PlayBook tablet which won’t appear in stores until early next year. Add in all of the iPod touches out there that run the same apps as iPhones and use the same online store and you have a significantly larger market for iOS than smartphone market share comparisons reveal. Still, Android cannot be underestimated. Even with a Verizon iPhone expected in the first quarter of 2011, Google’s mobile OS is all set to take the lead by the end of next year in all of the surveys.

All we can conclude at this point is that Android is closing in on or has already passed the iPhone. The BlackBerry has fallen into third place but still hanging on.  RIM’s success over the next couple of years will be based on how well its PlayBook tablet does and how quickly it can get its new BlackBerry Tablet OS that its QNX Software division is working on to its smartphones. Android can count on continued support by most smartphone manufacuturers. The iPhone of course will spread to more carriers and continue to improve.

Is there room for WP7 or HP webOS 2.0 out there or has Android, iOS and BlackBerry already secured enough of the market to fight off the competition?

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