You can say it’s quantity over quality if that makes you feel better but the Q4 figures from NPD show that Android swept the market with 53% of phone sales. Adding to the pummeling, as speculated, Windows Mobile outsold Windows Phone 7. And worse yet “Windows Phone 7 also entered the market with lower share than either Android or webOS at their debuts.” Microsoft, this is your wakeup call (since the others weren’t loud enough apparently). The stats:

Android 53%

iPhone 19%

RIM 19%

WM 4%

WP7 2%

PalmOS 2%

In related news:

Based on U.S. consumer purchases of mobile phones in Q4 2010, for the first time there were no feature-phone handsets in NPD’s top-five ranking. All top-selling mobile phone models were smartphones, as follows:

1. Apple iPhone 4
2. Motorola Droid X
4. Apple iPhone 3GS
5. Motorola Droid 2



  1. NPD has a track record of overblowing Android sales numbers, or at least reporting them as higher than anywhere else.

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, the first Android phone recorded its first million after six months, didn’t it? They don’t provide absolute numbers, but having smaller _share_ at launch at this time doesn’t necessarily equate to slower sales than Android had a couple years ago.

    This doesn’t mean that WP7 is selling greatly, of course, but there’s a bit too much doom and gloom surrounding this topic, IMO.

  2. @vangrieg: I’m not sure what the best metric is but race to 1m sales properly is less relevant today than it was 4 years ago, let’s say, just because the number of smartphones has blown up. On the other hand, the market is a lot more mature and it’s a lot harder to gain marketshare for the same reason. Putting all of this aside, I still don’t feel that sense of urgency from MS yet. I mean, we’re still mnoths off of a Sprint/VZ device. Heck, we don’t even have a date for copy and paste…just a rumor. They need to get out in front and make some noise already.

  3. @DavidK: Of course it’s harder to gain market share now than it was when Android and iPhone were launched. Then the term “smartphone” was some geeky thing, now everybody knows what it is, and it’s not scary anymore. But that’s the reason why I don’t think the launch was an epic fail many see it.

    I mean, let’s look at the US. You have four carriers, WP7 is on two. You have what, 2 phones on AT&T and one on T-Mo. How many Android phones are there? 10? 30? On four carriers. So you more or less safely assume that if they had four carriers they’d have roughly double the sales already, and would have 4%. If they had 15 devices they might have 2-4 times current sales, so it could’ve been 10% or something. Limited offering, awful branding, zero interest from sales staff, poor press, MS’s marketing genius (yeah, I’m beeing sarcastic), and still they managed to get 2%. That’s not half bad.

    The problem is that it’s not sustainable, they just won’t be able to pull the XBox trick this time, they’ll need to show some real sales to Wall St. and to those developers who came to the platform early.

    Operators will always lag, they don’t care what to sell as long as it comes with a smartphone plan and doesn’t cause a flood of users complaining. So you can’t count on them unless there are real sales either (yes, that’s a catch 22, but every distribution channel has lots of inertia unless it’s yours, you just have to live with it).

    So I wouldn’t worry about those numbers yet. Dynamics in the next few months will be critical though. And in order for it to be positive, there need to be new phones. You can’t sell a platform like WP or Android without new gadgets popping up every month. So that’s what MS need to worry about. And of course they need to stop all this PR bleeding somehow.

  4. Also, market share isn’t necessarily a good metric either. It matters when there’s considerable network effect and related loyalty (high switching costs, tons of unique related products/services etc.). I’m not at all sure the smartphone market has any of that. Maybe RIM is strong due to enterprise deployments, and Apple has the brand (and a bunch of users with registered credit cards). But even that’s not enough.

  5. They need to get out in front and make some noise already.

    From my TV watching this weekend I’d say that they are getting out in front. I felt blitzed with Windows Phone ads, not one Blackberry Torch ad. I don’t know which one of them, AT&T or Microsoft, is paying or has how much say over ad buying and timing but AT&T may be going all in on WP7 finally with the impending departure of iphone exclusivity. All those T-Mobile commercials making fun of AT&T and their iPhone, T-Mobile’s been doing Verizon a favor.

    Perhaps AT&T wants to become the Windows Phone carrier, the one that’s especially all about it, and is determined enough to do that it’s trying to lift the thing up off the ground itself. The home run is if they can blast enough skydiving ads to make this an “it” phone [platform] and then can let it ride on its own momentum.

    Are OEMs still stamping out phones with WinMo on them or is this 4% leftover? Does Microsoft have the power to put the brakes on its sale and would that be a good idea? Apparently not if they haven’t done it yet.

    Unless it becomes pretty apparent in another few months that no one’s getting an adequate return on the investment of pushing this thing and might as well just let it idle around in gear itself, I think we’ll see more of these ads and I think the AT&T dealerships will make more of an effort.

    Turns out that the guy behind the spreadsheet I wrote about is keeping it updated. So anytime you hear statistics you want to believe aren’t true, see how it lines up with the numbers on that sheet. Bookmark it.

    mike_311: You really believe that? And what’s the latest on that lawsuit?

  6. @Doug Simmons: the WM sales are worldwide presumably. Outside of the US the OS was actually popular and there are no WP7 sales.
    As for the commercials, they’re ok but they’re not as strong as they could be showing off Xbox, Zune, Facebook. They’re cute but it’s like the MS Cloud commercials. My wife has no idea what ‘to the cloud’ means. They need to give more information and back away from being too cute across the board.

  7. I was kind of suprised not to see it posted here last week, but AT&T has stated that now they’ve lost the exclusivity on the Iphone they will ….start “very aggressively” marketing smart phones based on Google Inc.’s Android software….

    If the Atrix coming to AT&T is just the start of things… it will only help Android sales compared to the other OS’s

  8. They said that at CES where they didn’t mention WP. I think I wrote about it and the number of Android devices they’ve got coming as well as an affirmation from Rubin, Google’s phone czar, that the two companies are getting cozier. Haven’t seen any sort of Android promotion out of AT&T yet. Seems like they’re hedging their WP7 bet?

    I’m wondering why it’s taken them so long to take Android seriously. The Backflip?

  9. All these declarations are just politics. If you have watched operators and even some OEMs (especially Samsung), you’ve seen how their stance would change sometimes several times a year. They have nothing to gain in building a strong vendor. They’ll piggyback on any one that is successful if they can, and will abandon him when they feel like it. In the meanwhile, they’ll say whatever fits the political situation.

  10. I don’t know if its because they had so much tied up in the Iphone agreement or what; but as an AT&T customer, I’ll be glad to have some real choices when my contract is up later this year.

Comments are closed.