Maybe Google’s Android isn’t as “fragmented” as Steve Jobs thought. Android continues to challenge Apple’s hold on the smartphone market, despite any claims Jobs has made in recent months. Tech industry analysts from Canalys reported today that for the third quarter, Apple still leads the pack as the best-selling US vendor and has a 26.2 percent share. The same report also found that smartphones using Android’s OS accounted for 43.6 percent of US shipments – representing a huge growth for the company. Falling into third was BlackBerry developer Research in Motion (RIM) which experienced a six-percent fall in its share.
Since Apple only has one phone, the iPhone, on the market, and Android has multiple devices, these numbers don’t come as a complete surprise. Still, Apple insists it and Android activate approximately the same amount of devices a day, but those calculations include iPads as well as iPhones.
The NPD Research Group also released its numbers for the third quarter today, supporting Canalys’ report: The iPhone was the smartphone of choice, and Android’s platform was the OS of choice. NPD executive director of industry analysis Ross Rubin did clarify exactly where Android took its growth from. “Much of Android’s quarterly share growth came at the expense of RIM, rather than Apple,” Rubin explained. “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.”
While Apple is consistently maintaining its industry position (and gaining a little), the giant leap Android took this quarter might make Jobs take his open source-competitor a little more seriously. At the same time, if the iPhone’s rumored introduction to Verizon stores in the near future is true, this could easily propel its numbers for next quarter.