Android's American market share soars, WinMo pays the price

Mobile manufacturer and platform market share stats for the US are in for the month of January thanks to comScore, and as usual, they tell a fascinating (and somewhat unpredictable) story of what's actually going on at the cash registers. Motorola -- which has long since fallen off its high horse on the global stage -- still maintains a commanding presence in the American market by representing some 22.9 percent of all subscribers, though that's down 1.2 percent from October 2009; that's particularly interesting in light of the Droid's success, and a possible sign that smartphones still aren't on the cusp of dominating the phone market overall. Samsung recently touted the fact that it had held onto the States' overall market share crown, though Sammy was undoubtedly referring to sales, not subscribers -- in other words, there are still a ton of legacy RAZRs out there inflating Moto's stats.

Turning our attention to smartphone platforms, BlackBerry OS, iPhone, and Android all saw gains, while Windows Mobile and Palm both saw significant downturns. You might use Palm's loss of 2.1 percent of overall market share in a single quarter as a big nail in webOS' coffin, but we're inclined to believe this includes legacy devices -- and considering the huge installed base of Palm OS-based handsets (Centros, for instance) that are coming off contract these days, it's neither surprising nor alarming to see that kind of drop. Android's gain, meanwhile, likely comes in large part from WinMo's whopping four percent loss -- it's no secret that WinMo 6.x is well past its expiration date with customers leaving in droves (even before Windows Phone 7 Series announcement), and our informal observations lead us to believe that many of those folks are heading for Android. After all, it's kind of convenient that Android gained 4.3 percent and WinMo lost about the same, isn't it? BlackBerrys still dominate the American smartphone landscape, and the iPhone market looks like it might be mature for the time being -- Apple added just 0.3 percent to its market share in the quarter, possibly a sign that folks are holding out for whatever Cupertino brings us come Summer. Is this a sign that Palm needs to step up its game yet again? Undoubtedly -- but at the same time, we wouldn't call the loss of those Palm OS subscribers a death knell just yet.