How fast is Google's Android OS rising? Fast enough to throw a scare into Apple and its iPhone for the first quarter of 2010, according to The NPD Group.
Sales of smartphones running on Google's Android operating system outpaced Apple iPhones in the first quarter, the researcher said Monday, giving Android the No. 2 market share in the U.S. in unit sales, behind only phones running Research in Motion (RIM)'s BlackBerry OS.
The NPD Group's latest wireless market findings gave phones with the BlackBerry OS a 36 percent share, Android-based phones a 28 percent share, and Apple OS-based iPhones a 21 percent share. The numbers, according to NPD, are based on a survey of 150,000 U.S. smartphone consumers.
The numbers may be skewed toward the glut of Android-based devices that have hit the market since the holiday season. Most other analyst reports on quarterly smartphone growth have focused on phone manufacturers, not OSes.
IDC, for example, on Friday said that Nokia commanded a 39.3 percent share of the worldwide handset market, with RIM at 19.4 percent, Apple at 16.1 percent and HTC at 4.8 percent.
According to NPD, Verizon Wireless was able to keep pace with AT&T throughout the first quarter thanks to the aggressive promotions of phones like the Android-based Motorola Droid and RIM's BlackBerry Curve. NPD's Mobile Phone Track awarded AT&T a 32 percent share in smartphone sales for the quarter, Verizon a 30 percent share, T-Mobile a 17 percent share and Sprint a 15 percent share.
"As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, in a statement. "In order to compete with the iPhone, Verizon Wireless has expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones."