Just as Apple and Samsung head into a California courtroom for a patent-infringement trial that could have massive repercussions on the iOS-versus-Android battle, a new report by Strategy Analytics suggests that Android’s market-share is dropping in the United States.
The research firm estimates Android’s market-share for the second quarter of 2012 at 56.3 percent, a noticeable dip from 60.6 percent in the second quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, iOS nabbed 33.2 percent of the market, up from 23.2 percent the same quarter a year ago.
Research In Motion’s BlackBerry franchise, meanwhile, slipped into the single digits with 6.5 percent. A year ago, that number stood at 10.5 percent. Strategy Analytics’ analysts cited customer frustrations with the company’s relatively limited device portfolio, coupled with repeated delays in its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, as reasons for the decline.
Strategy Analytics also includes an “Others” category, which presumably includes Windows Phone; that percentage dipped over a twelve-month period from 5.7 percent to 4.0 percent.
Things were positively anemic for the smartphone market, which enjoyed robust expansion in previous quarters. “This was one of the slowest growth rates ever experienced by the important U.S. smartphone market,” Alex Spektor, associate director of Strategy Analytics, wrote in a July 30 statement. “A volatile economy, maturing penetration of smartphones among contract mobile subscribers, and major operators tightening their upgrade policies to enhance profits were among the main causes of the slowdown.”
Although Android remains the top platform by volume in the United States, “its market share is approaching a peak and Apple iOS has been gaining ground,” Neil Mawston, an executive director at Strategy Analytics, added in the same statement. “Apple is rumored to be launching a new iPhone in the coming weeks, and that event, if it takes place, is going to heap even more pressure on Android in its home market.”
Android and iOS remain locked in fierce battle for the mobile-device market. Regardless of how that battle turns out in the long term, each platform exerts massive sway on how, when and for whom third-party developers build cloud-based apps, features, and services.