Has Android hit a peak?
The numbers suggest a slowdown for Google's operating system as the iPhone momentum continues.
Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt combed through the first-quarter financial reports from Sprint (S), Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), and found that Apple nabbed 59% of the U.S. smartphone market. That's up from 36% a year ago, Forbes writes.
And get this: The non-iPhone sell-through appeared to drop 38% from a year earlier compared with a 55% rise for iPhone sell-through.
It's enough to make McCourt wonder if we're seeing the end of the U.S. growth of the Android operating system, which is made by Google (GOOG). "So here's a thought," he writes in a note obtained by Forbes. "Could it be the case that Google's share of the smartphone market has peaked?"
The following video has more information about Apple's blowout quarter.
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Perhaps phone buyers are starting to prefer Apple's seamless, integrated approach over the "cacophony" of the Android market, McCourt adds. Cacophony is a good word. Mashable noted in January that there were five different versions of Android on various devices. Android is used in everything from small gadgets to television sets. And device makers are branching their own versions of Android.
All those versions just make life harder for software developers.
Investors are still reeling from the monster quarter Apple reported Tuesday, one largely driven by iPhone sales. Apple sold 35 million iPhones in the first three months of this year, nearly twice as many as it did a year earlier. Profit nearly doubled to $11.6 billion.
It was all enough to make McCourt wonder if the competition is essentially over. "Could it, in fact, be the case that, while Google and Microsoft can innovate and find niche markets for their mobile OS offerings, that Apple has basically won the game, at least for the U.S. market?" he writes.
We may be seeing some similarities on a global scale as well. Android had 50.9% of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, Gartner reports. But that was down from just under 53% in the previous quarter.
You could say that smartphone users were still deep into the iPhone 4S upgrade cycle in the first quarter, and that Apple's momentum will slow. But the next iPhone, thought to be iPhone 5, is likely headed for an October launch.
By the way, one of the first mobile companies to embrace Android, HTC, now says it has probably lost its hold on the U.S. market permanently. The threat from the iPhone has just been too intense to beat back. HTC is now going to focus on Asia and Europe.
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