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ComScore says iPhone market share has increased but Samsung still reigns

by Phil Hornshaw

The latest numbers in the battle for smartphone supremacy show that Apple’s share of the pie has increased in the U.S., but it is still being out-paced by Android-making rivals.

According to market analysis firm comScore, South Korean-based Samsung remains the top OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in the U.S. smartphone market, with 25.6 percent of all smartphone subscribers. Coming in at No. 4 is Apple with its iPhone, with 11.2 percent of subscribers, as TechCrunch reports. Samsung took the crown of worldwide top smartphone OEM by revenue in the third quarter of 2011, and has held the position ever since.

While Apple remains second place to Samsung in the U.S., there are some telling caveats to comScore’s numbers. For one, Samsung’s share of the market in the three months ending in November 2011 was only 0.3 percentage points. Meanwhile, Apple increased its chunk of the U.S. market by a decent margin by comparison, going from 9.8 percent to 11.2 percent. It’s not a massive increase, but it is notable.

ComScore’s numbers also notably leave out the holiday season, which has been a substantial one for both Apple’s iOS platform and for Google’s Android operating system. Flurry Analytics noted that on Christmas Day alone, 6.8 million new mobile devices were activated on both platforms, and Google’s Andy Rubin announced on Twitter that over the Christmas weekend, 3.7 million Android devices were activated. We don’t know just how many devices Apple activated (or how many of those were iPhones), so it’s too early to be sure if the holidays will have an effect on the market share slider, but it’s definitely possible.

Coming in with the No. 2 smartphone OEM slot was LG, which lost 0.5 percentage points of market share to fall from 21 percent of subscribers to 20.5. After that was Motorola with 13.7 percent of subscribers. It fell 0.3 percentage points from August, when it held 14 percent.

Obviously, the Android mobile operating system continues to reign supreme in the U.S., with Google’s mobile platform taking 47 percent of the mobile market, but both Android and iOS increased their dominance of the mobile operating system market at the expense of rivals. Android increased to 46.9 percent of mobile devices, from 43.8 percent in August, while iOS rose from 27.3 percent to 28.7 percent. Meanwhile, every other player in the mobile operating system game losing ground. Blackberry maker, No. 3 Research In Motion, saw its share drop from 19.7 percent in August to 16.6 percent in November; Microsoft’s Windows Phone fell from 5.7 percent to 5.2 percent; and Nokia’s slowly dying Symbian went from 1.8 percent to 1.5 percent.

Apple saw some growth in the last few months, and that’s mostly without the aid of the holidays or the iPhone 4S. When numbers roll around for the final quarter of 2011, they might show a clearer picture of what gains Apple is making with its popular devices, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be able to take down its biggest rivals anytime soon, regardless.