The contrast between the mobile-computing fortunes of Google and Research in Motion in the U.S. were neatly illustrated by a Comscore market share report Friday: they’re heading in opposite directions, and it doesn’t take an expert observer of the mobile industry to know which one is which.
Out of the 72.5 million smart-phones sold in the U.S. during the first quarter (a 15 percent jump from the previous quarter), those running Google’s Android operating system are more popular than ever, gaining six percentage points of market share during the first quarter to lead the market with 34.7 percent. RIM, on the other hand, suffered due likely to what its own co-CEO called an “aging” high-end product lineup, losing 4.5 percentage points during the quarter to narrowly avoid falling past Apple in third place. RIM now has 27.1 percent of the market as measured by operating system, while Apple inched up a tad from 25 percent of the market last quarter to 25.5 percent.
When it comes to the broader mobile market, which includes phones not quite as smart as the iPhone, Atrix or BlackBerry, Samsung is the leader when comparing handset vendors, with a very small decrease in its market share to 24.5 percent.
Apple was the biggest gainer in the top 5 when the market was measured this way, gaining 1.1 percentage points to take 7.9 percent of the market, which is even more impressive when you consider Apple doesn’t sell any of the cheaper and more widely used “feature” phones that companies like Samsung, LG (SEO: 066570), and Motorola crank out in large volume.