As the first Windows Phone 7 models hit stores during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2010, the Android smartphone operating system (OS) significantly increased its market-share lead by 9 percentage points, since the prior quarter, to reach 53 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to a new report from The NPD Group.
Apple iOS share declined 4 percentage points to comprise 19 percent of unit sales in Q4; RIM OS fell 2 points to tie Apple’s 19 percent; Windows Mobile, Microsoft’s legacy OS, fell 3 points to 4 percent, as the new Windows Phone 7 OS debuted at 2 percent; and Palm’s WebOS held at 2 percent.
“With its mid-quarter launch Windows Phone 7 entered the epicenter of competition between iOS and Android at AT&T. Both competitors offer mature feature sets and large app libraries,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD.
“Microsoft has made the case for Windows Phone 7’s differentiation and improved integration. Now, the company must close the feature gap, offer more exclusive capabilities, work with partners to deliver hardware with better differentiation, and leverage its extensive experience in driving developer communities to increase its app offerings.”