Android now dominates US smartphone market. (Don't ask about RIM.)(Read article summary)
Android is the most popular operating system in the country. Can RIM and Apple catch up?
Android phones dominated the US market in the first quarter of 2011, besting both BlackBerry handsets built by RIM and the Apple iPhone. According to the analytics firm ComScore, there are 72.5 million smartphones currently in use in the US. Some 34.7 percent of all US smartphones ran on the Android operating system, 27.1 percent ran on the RIM operating system, and 25.5 percent ran on Apple's iOS.
For many smartphone market watchers, it is this RIM figure which is most interesting. As Charles Jade notes over at GigaOM, RIM has been on a steady slide for a while, culminating with a loss of 4.5 percent of market share in the last four months. "To put that in perspective, a year ago RIM accounted for about 40 percent of smartphone OS market share in the US," Jade writes.
In early May, RIM unveiled the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 –– the thinnest BlackBerry devices yet –– along with a new iteration of the in-house BlackBerry OS. The handsets are expected to hit shelves this summer, although thus far, the critical reception has been less than lukewarm: At least one tech writer, who got his hands on the new Bold, said the new BlackBerry 7 operating system was not exactly life-altering.
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The BlackBerry 9900, wrote Sascha Segan of PC Mag, "is a very subtle upgrade to the existing BlackBerry Bold with BlackBerry 6. Maybe it's too subtle; after spending 20 minutes with a device, I can't see it changing anyone's mind about BlackBerry." And say nothing of the BlackBerry PlayBook, which has been pelted by reviewers and shrugged off by many bloggers, and failed to generate big sales numbers.
Android, meanwhile, has been growing in leaps and bounds –– it seems like two-thirds of the new model smartphones and tablets run one version or another of the Google OS. Of course, including the Android OS on your device is no guarantee of success. Consider the case of the Motorola Xoom, which has not exactly proved to be a gamechanger. But will Apple's grip on the tablet market loosen, just BlackBerry's has on the smartphone market?
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