Android Handsets Outsell Apple’s iPhone in Third Quarter

Apple’s iPhone was the top-selling smartphone in the United States during the third quarter, according to a survey released Monday. However, the Android operating system running on multiple devices dominated U.S. smartphone sales overall, the NPD Group said.

Google’s Android OS was installed on 44 percent of all smartphones purchased by U.S. consumers in the quarter — an increase of 11 percentage points from three months earlier. By contrast, purchases of iPhones running Apple’s iOS grew only slightly to 23 percent — just one percentage point higher than in the prior quarter, the research firm observed.

Much of Android’s quarterly growth came at the expense of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion rather than Apple, noted NPD Executive Director Ross Rubin. “The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors,” Rubin said. “And the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide.”

Apple Rises Overseas

NPD reports that four out of the top five mobile handsets purchased in the U.S. during the quarter were smartphones: Apple’s iPhone 4, RIM’s BlackBerry Curve 8500, Motorola’s Droid X (Android) and HTC’s EVO 4G (Android). However, the purchase of smartphones running RIM’s BlackBerry OS declined six percentage points on a sequential basis to 22 percent, and RIM’s OS unit share of the U.S. market fell 53 percent in comparison with the same quarter last year.

Based on the same year-on-year comparison, Apple’s iOS U.S. market share declined 21 percent. “The iPhone has held its own at AT&T, but Apple faces challenges in further expanding its domestic market share while still retaining exclusivity,” Rubin said.

Still, IDC reports that Apple claimed a 14.1 percent share of the global handset market overall during the third quarter, with the iPhone maker now…

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