comScore just dropped some new U.S. market share numbers on us and if you like drama, you're going to love this one. According to the analytics company, for the three month period ending in February 2013, Android's share actually dropped 2%, while Apple's rose 3.9%. Before you panic, though, no, this isn't the end of the world.


Since comScore actually gives us the total number of smartphone subscribers in the country (by its count), we can use that percentage to get an idea of just how many total users a platform gained or lost. There were 133.7m total smartphone users in February, versus 123.3m in November. Calculating Google's total, we see that Android had about 66.2m total users in November 2012, which went up to 69.1m in February. So, despite Google's percentage of the market dropping, the number of people adopting Android still rose.

So, why the drop? Well, it's largely because Apple had a very good quarter. In August of 2012, the iPhone made up 34.3% of a 116.5m smartphone market, or about 39.9m total users. By November, Apple's share had only risen about 0.7% as the total market climbed to 123.3m smartphone owners, or about 43.1m iPhones in circulation. Keeping in mind that this time period included the launch of the iPhone 5 in September. It would seem that the eager adopters grabbed them up during this period, but most consumers waited until the holidays because between November and February, Apple's total number of users in the U.S. skyrocketed from 43.1m to 52m, or about nine million new users. Interestingly (though perhaps predictably), Apple made more sales in the holiday quarter than it did during the iPhone 5 launch quarter before it. A narrative that the company's earning reports seem to corroborate (26.9m total global iPhone sales in Q4 2012, vs. 47.8m in Q1 2013).

So, just in case you saw a negative sign and went to grab your torches and pitchforks, no, Android isn't in any danger. The iPhone is doing very well for itself, and Google is sure seeing some slow growth, but adoption of both platforms is increasing, and smartphones are still only 57% of the entire mobile market.

Where things really get interesting (and, frankly, a little bit sad) is on the OEM side:


Apple is up 3.9% between November and February, Samsung is up 1%, while everyone else is down, down, down. HTC most of all, with a loss of 1.7% of the market. Motorola similarly dropped, while LG crept down two tenths of a percentage point. To be fair, like with the platform shares, this doesn't tell the whole story. While November's OEM numbers included dumbphone sales, that method of tracking changed in December. Compare that month's numbers to February's and LG actually gained a tiny bit (up by about 100k), whereas Motorola and HTC both lost users. So, despite the numbers looking bleak for anyone but Samsung or Apple, LG at the very least benefited from the goodwill the Nexus 4 brought it. Just not enough to keep up with the rest of the industry. At least in the U.S..

Who knows what the next couple years will bring.

Source: comScore

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/lukamlinar Luka Mlinar

    People still buying Apple? Damn, i thought it went out of style :D

    • http://twitter.com/Codexx Cody Curry

      Perhaps a ton of users stuck on Gingerbread leapt at the iPhone 5.

      Which was considered underwhelming. Perhaps iPhone users will look at their friend's new ICS+ devices in awe and vow to switch back next time. They'll eventually settle somewhere.

      That, or we could be seeing users still using regular cell phones making the conversion and, after being confused by the plethora of Android choices, just going with the iPhone because they haven't had any experience with smartphones yet.

      • http://twitter.com/Mo3tasm Mo3tasm

        right.. it's OEMz fault.. care about flagships and their market share more than the platform it self and its future.. Google should make more Nexuses...

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      • carlisimo

        Plethora of Android choices? If you want a small but high end phone, there were a couple of choices last year (HTC One S, Motorola Droid RAZR M), but they had their weaknesses, were only available on one carrier each, and now belong to the last generation of phones. It's either huge phone or iPhone right now. Some people are choosing the latter.

    • G

      Well now (grand)parents buy it, since user interface is so simple to use, everyone can use it.

      • fan_boy

        Yes, I prefer a phone that's harder to use.

    • Jared

      It's because of all those killer features of the iPhone5, like... uh... the five rows of apps and, uh... the 4 inch screen... Yeah, that's it.

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    Just a couple days ago, another report comes up saying Android beats Apple in the last quarter in US. How accurate these reports are remains to be seen.

  • Lawrence

    Good, Android needs improvement, hopefully Google hears. I bought an Atrix 2 for my mom, and it just drains battery like crazy (android os), I should have bought her and iphone 4.
    Also my Nexus 10 has random reboots and stand by battery is like 2.5 days.

    • Stocklone

      Why did you get the Atrix 2? It was pretty easy to see that they put too small of a battery in it. A coworker with the original Atrix was looking at the 2. I told him to hold off. He's currently waiting for the One to drop. And has your mom tried DeepSleep? I normally finish the work day at 87% battery life left with DS running.

      • Lawrence

        It was 200 nib craigslist, phone came with ics, from what i've read GIngerb battery was better. Before my mom had the defy, battery last like 4-5 days(low usage). I ran a lot of test and yes the phone deepsleeps normally, there is no way to stop the drain unless sync is disabled.

        • Stocklone

          Ahhh. Now the purchase makes sense. So you do run the battery saving app DeepSleep?

    • Marsg

      Lol the atrix 2 has 4g ofcourse its going to drain battery, all 4g phones have crappy battery life when compared to older devices including the iPhone 5. But I still rather have a phone that can actually download apps at fast speeds, took a friend of mine 3 minutes to download dropbox on her iPhone 4s, can't even imagine how crappy the iPhone 4 would be

      • Josh

        The iPhone 5 has roughly the same battery life as the non-LTE iPhone 4s, with no extra battery capacity. You are simply incorrect. What IS true is that many first-gen LTE devices had incredibly bad battery drain. Also, because the iPhone 5 has a small battery, it charges very quickly compared to my Nexus 4 (or something with a ridiculous battery like the MAXX or GNII).

        Hm, are you a Galaxy Nexus (VZW) (toro) user?

        • Marsg

          Yea my battery life sucks, like 2 hours on heavy use, I have a external travel charger though lol. Waiting for the note 3 to upgrade. I don't see the atrix 2 having as bad of a battery life as the galaxy nexus, I mean it doesn't have a 720p display and has a smaller display, next to 4g, displays are one of the biggest culprits of battery drain.Also I'd like to point out that newer phones like the gs3 in real life tests get like 30 more min when it comes to battery life than the iPhone 5. But yea they do take longer to charge but that might be changing with Qualcomm's fast charge 2

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1303904674 Michael Harrison

          That's also because the iPhone 5 was the first phone to get the new Qualcomm Radio that integrated all the radios to a single chip. This was a massive help to the battery life. And why we have seen more recent high end phones doing much better on 4G battery life than before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaelgonzalez2012 Michael Gonzalez

    I think the people who are still buying Apple are coming from returned Windows and BB10 phones >< They don't know better so we'll give them time. I'm willing to bet that 2% that BB lost went to Apple since they are mostly old people.

    • Sootie

      I think different people just like different things, seriously. My mates gf just bought a windows phone coming from an iphone 4, he is a massive android fan and tried to convince her but that is what she liked of all the phones she tried, reason didnt really come into it

  • True2daGame

    Leave immediately Apple cockroaches!

  • Brian Bowden

    Despite privacy concerns, I'm willing to bet that Facebook Home will be a game changer among the everyday consumer. They're leveraging a strength of the Android platform that can't be replicated on any other popular devices.

  • Bloodflame87

    What I find interesting is the fact that Blackberry is still dropping, even with the release of the Z10. Now, I do realize that it hasn't been available for too long, but still interesting enough to point out.