iPhone Hits 30% Market Share

While various BlackBerrys continue to hold the most sway over the hearts and minds of U.S. smartphone users, Apple Inc. has reached a milestone in its quest for a come-from-behind victory in the market: a 30 percent market share based on sales of just one device, the iPhone.

That’s almost double from a year previously, when the iPhone commanded 17 percent of the U.S. market for high-end handsets. Sales of the device are projected to grow from 13.7 million in 2008 to 24 million in 2009.

Internationally, Nokia’s Symbian operating system has dominance, though it, like BlackBerry, is waning in share, which will result in a net drop in handset shipments in 2014.

The data comes from In-Stat and a survey by ChangeWave Research, which polled 4,255 domestic smartphone users.

The survey revealed that Research in Motion Ltd. still leads in smartphone ownership in the United States, with a 40 percent market share counting all of its BlackBerry models. However, that has been dipping a percentage point or two each quarter since the iPhone’s launch in 2007. The 40 percent represents a two-year low for the company.

Meanwhile, overall market penetration for the devices also has doubled from two years ago: 39 percent of those polled now own a smartphone. And In-Stat says the global smartphone market in 2014 will be 412 million units.

In-Stat reports that as smartphones become mainstream, the basis of competition will change from the OS inside a phone to the functionality and “experiences” that the phone can provide, like touch screens, increased camera resolution and Wi-Fi connectivity options.

It’s not just the iPhone that gadget-makers need to worry about. Competition will continue to heat up on the lions of the industry like RIM and Nokia with the introduction of more open-source devices. “In-Stat believes new OSs such as Android and Maemo will cut away at Symbian market share,” says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. “Although there are relatively few open source OS based on the market today, the open source OS momentum is difficult to ignore. After years of hype, it is easy to see that 2010 will the year of Android.”

Palm Inc. meanwhile has not seen a significant boost from its launch of the Pre earlier in the year; it’s holding steady at a 7 percent market share domestically, according to ChangeWave. Palm had been counting on the Pre, which runs on the company’s new webOS, to jumpstart its flagging position in the market it helped create.

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