Android still king of the US smartphone hill, Motorola facing a market nosedive

In other obvious news, Android and iOS continue to sit pretty atop the US smartphone market, according to a recent NPD study. The current titans of the mobile industry both saw their pieces of the OS pie increase in Q2 of 2011, putting Andy Rubin's green robot in the lead with 52 percent and Apple at 29 percent. Newly adopted webOS, and Microsoft's WP7 and Windows Mobile all managed to cling to their respective 5 percent shares with no yearly change, leaving only BlackBerry OS to experience an 11 percent decline. But the real meat and potatoes of the report focuses on Google's soon-to-be in-house partner: Motorola. Despite the rosy picture painted by recent acquisition talks, the company appears to be facing tough competition from Android OEM rivals, and the wireless market as a whole. In regard to overall mobile phone share (read: dumbphones, et al.) and smartphone-only, Moto saw a 3 percent year-to-year decline, with its biggest loss coming from Android unit sales -- a 50 percent drop to 22 percent of the market. Will the rosy glow of Mountain View "help inspire new paths to differentiation" for Moto, or are we just looking at a repeat of the "RAZR era?" While you ponder these pressing questions, head past the break to read the full report.

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The NPD Group: As Android Solidifies Lead, Google Acquisition Has Potential to Revitalize Flagging Motorola
Patent-rich handset pioneer's second quarter share fell to gains by Apple, Samsung and LG.

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, August 22, 2011 – According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, Google's Android operating system (OS) continued to dominate U.S. smartphone market share, accounting for 52 percent of units sold in the second quarter (Q2) of 2011. Like Android, Apple's iPhone OS (iOS) experienced slight quarterly gain rising to 29 percent in Q2; however, BlackBerry OS share fell to 11 percent, as Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile, and webOS held steady at less than five percent of the market each.

"Google's acquisition of Motorola shifts the balance of power in the handset-patent conflict between Google and its operating system competitors," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. "Android's momentum has made for a large pie that is attractive to Motorola's Android rivals, even if they must compete with their operating system developer."

Motorola's overall mobile phone market share declined 3 percentage points, from 12 percent in Q2 2010 to 9 percent in Q2 2011. The company's share of the smartphone market also declined from 15 percent to 12 percent. Motorola's year-over-year unit share of Android OS sales halved from 44 percent in Q2 of last year to 22 percent in Q2 of 2011, as Samsung and LG both experienced substantial gains.

"Much as it did in the feature phone market in the RAZR era, Motorola is experiencing increased competition from Samsung and LG in the smartphone market," Rubin said. "Closer ties to the heart of Android can help inspire new paths to differentiation."

Growing opportunity in prepaid smartphones

Beyond the four largest national carriers, Motorola can also make up ground in the rapidly growing pre-paid smartphone market. Based on the latest information from NPD's "Mobile Phone Track," one in five new handsets acquired in Q2 was on a prepaid plan, and carriers offering prepaid mobile phones continued to grow their smartphone portfolios. In Q2 2010 just 8 percent of prepaid phones were smartphones, but in Q2 2011 that number jumped to 22 percent.

"Android is also leading the charge in the rapidly growing prepaid smartphone market," Rubin said. "This was once a key segment for Motorola that the company has an opportunity to reclaim as prepaid carriers build their smartphone portfolios."

Data Note: The information in this press release is from "Mobile Phone Track" – NPD's consumer tracking of U.S. consumers, aged 18 and older, who reported purchasing a mobile phone. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise mobile phone purchases.