Android most popular among first-time buyers in Q4, says NPD

Despite a strong 4th quarter showing for Apple thanks to the launch of the iPhone 4S, Android continues to kick digital butt all over the world. Contradicting earlier numbers, analytics firm NPD reports that Android is even more popular among first-time smartphone buyers. Among US buyers from October through December, 57% chose Android, 34% chose iOS and just under 10% chose something else. Android led the overall race as well, with 48% of sales as opposed to Apple’s 43%. Android’s total US market share, as reported by a handful of firms, remains in the 46-48% range.

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It’s not hard to see why Android continues to win in the US. A wide variety of form factors and price points give first-time buyers more than a single design and single screen size to choose from. While the iPhone is now available of three out of four of the big US carriers, Android is available basically anywhere, from top-tier providers with headline devices to small regional carriers with budget smartphones. The fact that mid-range Android phones tend to be a lot cheaper than their Apple counterpart doesn’t hurt, either.

The takeaway message here is that Android continues to grow, even in the US, where many thought it to be over-saturated. Both Android and iOS are still stealing market share from Windows Mobile/Windows Phone and BlackBerry, whose percentages have dropped in every quarter of the last year. With their combined share in the United States reaching 90%, soon enough Apple and Google will have no one left to pummel but each other. Is it any wonder that Cupertino is spending hundreds of millions to keep Android OEMs wrapped up in legal red tape?


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