Has Android hit a peak?

The numbers suggest a slowdown for Google's operating system as the iPhone momentum continues.

By Kim Peterson Apr 25, 2012 5:04PM
Credit: © 2012 Apple Inc
Caption: iPhone 4sThe rise of the Android platform for mobile phones and tablets has been incredible. But there are signs that Android is slowing down as Apple (AAPL) continues to explode.

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.

Post continues below.
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.

More from Top Stocks

May 1, 2012 9:37AM

once upon a time i was a fool- i stole -reproduced other folks patents

and changed their name on copyright-s-4- forms- every document i forged-

now i am finished because someone found out- we were never legal

Apr 26, 2012 3:18PM
apple is king baby and microsoft and droid know it

        More like Apple's for babys, tweeners and the tech challenged dude

Apr 26, 2012 9:17AM
To be honest, carriers need to start pushing the Android 4.04 update. I have a Galaxy Nexus with ICS on it and I LOVE it. I was a bit iffy with Android until ICS came out. It fixed a lot of the glitches from previous Android versions and it's much prettier and intuitive. 
apple is king baby and microsoft and droid know it 
don't want apple products due to them being way overpriced. I'd rather have my glitchy android stuff any day of the week instead.
Apr 26, 2012 6:16AM
Still rather have my Droid than anything I have seen from Apple.  Feels good, works great, tough as hell.
Apr 26, 2012 12:25AM
Having had both an Android based phone, and 2 different iPhones I really see whats happening.  If I was to be perfectly honest, I enjoy using the iPhone more than I did my Droid X.  The Android platform is very good when it works right, but it can be buggy and glitchy at times.  And I never have any of these problems with the iPhone.  The iPhone isn't perfect thats for sure, but it just works.  And it always seems to work- without fail.  At face value for things like - ease of use - problem free use -not crashing or locking up - Apple is the clear winner.  For techies, Android will always have a place, but for everyone else in the world- Apple is dominating.
Apr 25, 2012 11:34PM
Looks like a slanted Android hit piece for Apple. Devil
Apr 25, 2012 11:24PM
I don't care what phone you use.  I just want to see aapl climb higher.
Apr 25, 2012 11:15PM
Android best get better or it will be encouraging others to trash it real soon.  Guess Motorola is going the way of the American T.V industry:  Out of business... Smile
Apr 25, 2012 8:25PM
Why do you quote Apple's 60% of the US market then proceed to extrapolate that to world dominance when Android (Samsung and others) has 50% of the Asian mobile markets followed by Nokia with Apple at about 7%. If Apple sells 140 iPhones this year and there are 1 billion mobile phones sold they will have 7% of the world's units. Prejudice article to say the least.
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