Research: Android held 53% of smartphone OS market in Q4


New research indicates that Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone 7 OS held about 2 percent of the U.S. smartphone OS market at the end of 2010, while Android grew to 53 percent.

Research firm NPD Group concluded that WP7 is off to a slow start. Meanwhile, Android grew 9 percentage points, while RIM's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS were tied for second place at 19 percent. RIM's share fell 2 percentage points while Apple's fell 4 percentage points.

Microsoft's legacy Windows Mobile platform came in at 4 percent, which dipped 3 percentage points, and Palm's WebOS held 2 percent of the market.

"With its mid-quarter launch Windows Phone 7 entered the epicenter of competition between iOS and Android at AT&T. Both competitors offer mature feature sets and large app libraries," Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, said in a statement. "Microsoft has made the case for Windows Phone 7's differentiation and improved integration. Now, the company must close the feature gap, offer more exclusive capabilities, work with partners to deliver hardware with better differentiation, and leverage its extensive experience in driving developer communities to increase its app offerings."

Microsoft announced last week that it sold 2 million WP7 devices since November, but that number represents the number of phones sold to carriers and stores, not end users. During its fourth-quarter conference call last week, Microsoft executives said they were "encouraged" by WP7 sales. 

"We realize we still have a lot of work ahead of us and we remain focused and committed to the long-term success of Windows Phone 7," the company said. Microsoft said it will soon include new features to the OS, as well as support for CDMA-compatible phones that can be sold on Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Sprint (NYSE: S) networks. The new features include cut-and-paste capability and faster performance.

NPD also studied the top-selling mobile phones. The Apple iPhone 4 was the most popular during the fourth quarter, followed by the Motorola Droid X, the HTC EVO 4G, the iPhone 3GS and the Droid 2.

For more:
- see this PCMag article

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