"We're number two" might not be the chant everyone's after, but we have a feeling that Google is more than satisfied with that in this case... for now. According to market research firm NPD, Google's Android operating system edged up into second place in the US smartphone market during the first quarter of the year, leaving it still well behind RIM's BlackBerry OS, but marking the first time that it has moved ahead of Apple's iPhone OS. Specifically, NPD found that RIM maintained a strong 36 percent market share for the quarter, with Android coming in at 28 percent, and iPhone OS in third at 21 percent. The growth for Android was attributed largely to strong carrier support -- like Verizon's buy-one-get-one free offer which, incidentally, also helped Verizon maintain a 30 percent smartphone market share, which is just slightly behind AT&T at 32 percent, and ahead of T-Mobile and Sprint at 17 and 15 percent, respectively.

Disclaimer: NPD's Ross Rubin is a contributor to Engadget.
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Android Shakes Up U.S. Smartphone Market

First quarter 2010 information from The NPD Group's Mobile Phone Track reveals a shift in the smartphone market, as Android OS edged out Apple's OS for the number-two position behind RIM

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Android operating system (OS) continued to shake up the U.S. mobile phone market in the first quarter (Q1) of 2010, moving past Apple to take the number-two position among smartphone operating systems, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD's wireless market research reveals that based on unit sales to consumers last quarter the Android operating system moved into second position at 28 percent behind RIM's OS (36 percent) and ahead of Apple's OS (21 percent).

"As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market 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 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."

Strong sales of the Droid, Droid Eris, and Blackberry Curve via these promotions helped keep Verizon Wireless's smartphone sales on par with AT&T in Q1. According to NPD's Mobile Phone Track, smartphone sales at AT&T comprised nearly a third of the entire smartphone market (32 percent), followed by Verizon Wireless (30 percent), T-Mobile (17 percent) and Sprint (15 percent).

"Recent previews of BlackBerry 6, the recently announced acquisition of Palm by HP, and the pending release of Windows Phone 7 demonstrates the industry's willingness to make investments to address consumer demand for smartphones and other mobile devices," Rubin said. "Carriers continue to offer attractive pricing for devices, but will need to present other data-plan options to attract more customers in the future."

The continued popularity of messaging phones and smartphones resulted in slightly higher prices for all mobile phones, despite an overall drop in the number of mobile phones purchased in the first quarter. The average selling price for all mobile phones in Q1 reached $88, which is a 5 percent increase from Q1 2009. Smartphone unit prices, by comparison, averaged $151 in Q1 2010, which is a 3 percent decrease over the previous year.

Methodology: The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile device sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month. Surveys are based on a nationally balanced and demographically-representative sample, and results are projected to represent the entire population of U.S. consumers. Note: Sales figures do not include corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit http://www.npd.com/, or follow us Twitter at https://twitter.com/npdgroup.