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Android is taking the smartphone market, but don't panic just yet

Mel Martin

To read all the latest internet posts, the iPhone is all but dead, succumbing to the onslaught of Android phones being bought by customers in massive numbers. ComScore, who watches mobile use very carefully, pretty much says Android is rapidly eating away at the iPhone market share.

It's enough to make an Apple stockholder or fan weep, or at least get a bit nervous. The problem is, it's all a bit over-hyped. In a Fortune column today, the numbers get a bit of welcome perspective. While Android phones are doing very well, with market share up 5% in the three month period ending July 31 from the previous three months. Meanwhile Apple is down 1.3%, but the numbers don't tell the whole story.

First, the iPhone sold out on the U.S. launch day on June 24, and has been in short supply ever since. Of course that means that the iPhone wasn't even on sale for all of May and most of June. Further, since everyone and their cousin Clem knew a that a fresh iPhone model was coming out, it also likely suppressed sales.

Will Android eventually be the number one smartphone? Good chance. Suppliers and carriers get the OS for free, it's a good phone with a vibrant app store and an increasing loyal user base. It's not such good news for RIM and Microsoft, but who knows what the future might bring. It's just that the shovels are getting deployed just a bit early to bury the iPhone, and Apple continues to be innovative and responsive to the competition, which is good for all smartphone users.

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