Well that's it, we've hit the future. The smartphone- not too long ago a toy for those with lots of money, is now a household necessity. Just four years ago almost nobody had one. But, as of April 28, 2011, the smartphone now accounts for the majority of mobile phone sales in the United States. The NPD group reports that 54% new mobile handsets purchased in this country were smartphones in Q1 2011.
As a result of the smartphone explosion, the average price of a mobile phone has jumped 2% to a total of $102. However, the average price of a smartphone is actually in decline, down to $145. This seems to be due to the mass of low-end Android handsets that have rolled out over the last year. You'd expect to see these cheap entry-level phones give the open-source OS yet another boost in the numbers.
But they haven't.
In fact, Android is down in market share for the first time since Q2 2009. It accounted for only 50% of sales in Q1, a 3% drop year-over-year. To what do we owe this startling change?
Verizon's iPhone. After months of speculation, we can finally see the market impact of iOS expanding out of AT&T. Apple's share of the US smartphone market has leapt 9% to a total of 28%. RIM's BlackBerry, meanwhile, is down 5% to 14%. Ross Rubin of the NPD group closed off their results with this little gem:
"The rise of Apple and HTC show how companies can drive change in a mature device market to change the rules of the game. The overall success of U.S. market leaders Samsung and LG will be tied to their success in the smartphone market."
Samsung holds 23% of total cell phone unit sales in the United States, while LG is hovering at 18%. In terms of the whole handset market, Apple only holds 14% share. But that number is rising steadily. The iPhone is already nipping at LG's heels, and the possible launch of further iPhones with new carriers only increases Apple's odds of breaking that 20% mark.