Posted on 23 January 2012.
Strong iPhone 4S sales narrowed the gap between Apple and Google in the heated smartphone market.
More than half of people buying a new smartphone last fall chose Android devices, research firm Nielsen revealed Wednesday. However, in a month-by-month breakdown, researchers showed Android’s overall market share among recent buyers dropped by nearly 12 percent in the last quarter of 2011, coinciding with the weeks after the October release of the iPhone 4S.
The 4S launched to long lines and record-breaking sales, capped by high holiday activations at the end of last year. the iPhone 4S accounted for more than 44 percent of December’s smartphone sales, just 2 percent below Android, indicating the gap between the two rivals is growing narrower.
The numbers point to a trend that likely comes as no surprise to diehard Apple fans. People will hold out for a new device from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, and even first-time smartphone users may choose a brand-new iPhone over a rival’s offering.
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Nielsen’s latest numbers show the share of recent U.S. smartphone buyers who chose an iPhone over an Android or BlackBerry device nearly doubled in the last quarter of 2011, as compared to the previous three months when no new iPhone was available.
Android made impressive gains last year as manufacturers HTC and Samsung surpassed Apple in smartphone shipments. That spike occurred during months with no new iPhone, however, and Apple was quick to gain back any market share it lost once the 4S hit the shelves.
Apple made big market-share gains on the iPhone, even considering it released the 4S with few fresh features and no design updates. Android runs on more smartphones, so it has numbers on its side, but the Nielsen report suggests Android’s lead is more tentative than its reported 700,000 daily activations suggest.
Apple expects to release a 4G LTE iPhone later this year, putting the onus on Android to stop its downward slide in market share now, before Apple’s new offering launches. the company reportedly plans to release the new, faster iPhone 5 this fall, following the new release schedule set with its October 4S release.
Consumers complain about Apple’s lack of a 4G LTE phone, while Android has several 4G LTE devices already, including the latest Google flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But the numbers show the iPhone still holds appeal, even if it isn’t the fastest phone on the market.
Windows also expects to enter the smartphone fray this year with new 4G LTE phone offerings, diversifying the field and putting yet more market pressure on the two front-runners.
Google will look to Android manufacturers and developers to find new, creative ways to draw in customers and match Apple’s skyrocketing sales, especially if a speedier iPhone comes to pass in a few short months.
Want the scoop on mobile news? Subscribe to our Facebook or Twitter page. this post originally appeared at Mobiledia.
Apple Gains on Android with IPhone 4S