September 27 2010|03.00 AM UTC

Erik Chang

How Popular is the iPhone Anyway

Category: WirelessTags: , ,

Despite strong sales, is the iPhone the leading smartphone or the leading mobile device in the world? As the smartphone war continues to heat up with the introduction of new Android-powered devices, the smartphone market share can look different from quarter to quarter. What will an iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android owner buy next for their new mobile device? Some of the answers to these questions might just surprise you.

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iPhone Market Share & Popularity

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Editor’s note: Comment/emails has correctly stated that we made a mistake on worldwide smartphone market share, which is really a bad oversight on my part. The section really was suppose to show growth of market share from quarter to quarter but even those numbers aren’t too accurate, so I’ve removed the section from the chart until we can better fix and update the graphics. Thanks for all the notices!

For all those curious on worldwide smartphone market share, Gartner’s August 2010 numbers on sales to end users paints a clear picture on which OS is still in the lead:

  • 41.2% – Symbian
  • 18.2% – RIM
  • 17.2% – Android
  • 14.2% – iOS
  • 5.0% – Windows Mobile
  • 2.4% – Linux
  • 1.8% – Other OSes

What kind of smartphone do you own right now? Which smartphone are you getting next and what are some of your reasons? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacob September 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Why is “Linux” separate from Palm and Android? Both WebOS and Android use the Linux kernel, many Nokia and Samsung phones do as well. Many statistics put Linux-based phone sells higher then 12%.


sweet September 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm

So… what you’re saying is that there is still HUGE room for growth? kthxbai! Buying moar stock now!


Jason September 28, 2010 at 12:00 am

Add to this: % profit that each company earns in the smart phone market share.

It paints a different story


Andrew September 28, 2010 at 3:03 am

Wow, thanks for using a 3 month window from almost a year ago for your data


Anon September 28, 2010 at 3:13 am

“Why is “Linux” separate from Palm and Android? Both WebOS and Android use the Linux kernel, many Nokia and Samsung phones do as well. Many statistics put Linux-based phone sells higher then 12%.”

OSX uses Darwin kernel, but we don’t call it Linux do we?


Jacob October 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Darwin is a Unix kernel based on the BSD kernel, it’s not Linux, so you wouldn’t call it Linux. WebOS and Android use Linux, the actual kernel, only slightly modified. It appears that the statistics are incorrectly measured because of a lack of general knowledge of the Linux kernel and how and where it’s implemented. The statistics could have said “Other Linux-based phones” or something like that, but I still know that the numbers given are incorrect.


Chris September 28, 2010 at 6:44 am

You should change “Smart Phone Sales Oct 2009 – Dec 2009″ to “July 2010 – Oct 2010″ and see how it looks.


JayC September 28, 2010 at 6:46 am

Something is wrong with this data- Symbian controls much much more than 2% of the global smartphone market- they are the undisputed leaders in this segment with a 40% market share in 2010.
While Android is in 2nd place with a 17% share.


BillShrink Guy September 28, 2010 at 10:35 am

Thanks for the note Jay, the section was suppose to show growth % but until we can clearly show that, we’ve removed the section from the graph. Supplemented latest numbers from Gartner in text to make things a bit more clear.


Rob September 28, 2010 at 7:07 am

this is either an old report or the authour has his figures wrong, Android has surpassed the iphone


Tom September 28, 2010 at 8:04 am

Unless I’ve missed something the “World Smartphone Market Share by OS” part of the graphic is wrong. Symbian has between 35% and 40% of worldwide smartphone marketshare.


BillShrink Guy September 28, 2010 at 10:34 am

Yeah, a big Excel fail on data-to-graphic. Section removed and we’ve made a note in the blog post.


Roger September 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

Given that your Worldwide smartphone marketshare graphic shows Symbian at 2% when it is in fact over 40% and FAR outweighs ALL other OSes by a long way, I can only assume the rest of your statistics are lies, or very wrong, too.

This is a pretty shameful error. And I’m sure the US share for Symbian is way bigger than 2% too, I know it’s in double figures.

This whole chart is iPhone fanboy fantasy I suspect.


BillShrink Guy September 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

We’re well aware that Nokia continues to be a leader in both mobile device sale AND smartphone OS market share, the section was suppose to show growth % but until we can clearly show that, we’ve removed the section from the graph. Thanks for the notice.


Troy Daniel September 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

Nice visualization.

For the record, it’s “Anyway” … not “Anyways” :)


Marc @ Cormier September 28, 2010 at 10:21 am



SamanthaFox September 28, 2010 at 11:45 am

This entire display is inaccurate and paints a much rosier picture for the iPhone than is true.
If you want to understand what is happening in the smartphone market, look at new users added per month on Android vs iPhone vs Blackberry over the past 6 months.

The trend is clear: the smartphone market is expanding rapidly, and Android is taking a lion’s share of the new users coming into the market. 75% of Apple’s sales are to users who already owned an iPhone, making their growth tiny compared to their percentage of the existing market. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what lies in store for the iPhone: it will become a niche market with a small percentage of sales, just like the Mac platform.


Andre Richards September 29, 2010 at 2:09 am

“Android is taking a lion’s share of the new users coming into the market.”

You’re reading selectively, presumably to filter out bad news about Android. Look at the strangely large percentage of existing Android users planning to buy an iPhone next–21% compared to 6% of iPhone users planning to jump to Android. Seems Android is good at grabbing first-timers (probably because of the prevalence of buy-one-get-one deals) but far less effective than the iPhone when it comes to making long-term users out of them.


Anonymous September 29, 2010 at 10:06 am

I could not agree with you more I
Have an iPhone 4 and all my friends have them droids. I just laugh at them because they have to carry their chargers everywhere they go because their battery dies four times a day. While people say android is leading it’s like comparing apples and oranges their I’d way more android phones compared to what four versions of the iPhone.


Jake September 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Did you hear about that boy that traded from an iphone to a porsche? lol. there is a shot of him in the video clip link on this page. Looks like a neat series also.


Don Draper September 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Ok, let’s not forget that apple has ONE phone which uses the apples OS. Android is available for a lot of other phones hence the bigger share. Still not bad for just having ONE phone! Plus look at the APP market, the ONE phone is killing EVERYONE.


cligon September 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

do the app downloads exclude itouch? I’m curious.


Chris Ostrowski September 30, 2010 at 7:27 am

Exactly Don!

Comparing the iPhone to Android is really apples to oranges and is severely skewed.
It would be like comparing a Porche 911 Turbo to General Motors. Singular vs. Plural.

It is the same argument as OS X vs. Windows. Windows is horribly fragmented and runs on thousands of different platforms. OS X runs on Macintosh and Macintosh only.

It is very very difficult to actually compare iPhone to Android. You would have to pick the best selling Android phone then compare it to the iPhone. I am growing very tired of all these reports.


Andre Richards September 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I’ve seen these numbers before (in a less eye-catching presentation) and the same stat jumps out at me yet again. 21% of Android users are looking to go to iPhone and only 6% of iPhone users are planning to go to Android. That seems to imply that Android has benefited from a “honeymoon” period with consumers who quickly fall out of love with it when they have to live with it day-to-day. Anecdotally, my wife bought an Android phone (Droid Eris) and loved it for about a month. Now eyes my iPhone and repeatedly asks me when Verizon is going to get the iPhone (she prefers Verizon due to discounts offered by her employer.)

It will be interesting to see how the disparity in those two stats plays out over the next year.


John September 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I think RIMM is going to need to adopt Android OS, or they may face some tough times ahead. I had a blackberry bold before my Iphone, and I was so happy about the browsing experience on the Iphone that I would probably never go back to BB (would highly consider an Android phone).


Jeremy Goffe September 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

Everyone remember how the Apple IIe was state of the art back then? I do – it was in our elementary school library, and I loved days we’d go to the library, I’d get to play Oregon Trail for 30 minutes! AnywaySSSSS :), the point is the PC then is like the Android about a year ago. Android will grab the market share and take-off past the iPhone. BUT…keep in mind there are many manufacturers of the PC (Dell, Sony, etc.) and 1 for the Mac…strikingly similar to the iPhone/Android market. You want a pretty phone that does just about everything, you’re going to pay through the nose for it (iPhone). You want something else, that’s your prerogative. This is just IMHO, take it for what it’s worth! But I see an enormous correlation to the early days of the PC to the present for smartphones.


Deks September 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

The market is going to look much different for 2010. Up until recently there were no real “Flagship” android phones. Verizon tried to make the Droid the signature android series, and it has caught on. With Sprints new rollout of their 4G enabled devices that are not only comparable to the iPhone, but also surpass the iPhone in terms of hardware capabilities, the technological gap between these two is no longer there.

With that, the next year will be very telling. Not only are Android devices having to compete against the iPhone, they now have to compete against rival android devices. This is pushing innovation to the brim. You see companies like HTC increasing the amount of updates on their new devices to increase functionality. You see Samsung working hard on their Galaxy S android based OS in the same ways.

Only time will tell which way the market share will go with these new android behemoths becoming so popular.


Walter September 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

What kind of smartphone do you own right now? Which smartphone are you getting next and what are some of your reasons?

Well to answer your question, we are a 4 phone family. 6 mos ago it was 1 smart phone (a Nokia) and 3 “dumb” phones (2 samsungs and a motorola).

I had decided to replace them all with either iPhones or Android, a friend of mine had done a bunch of research and ended up getting an HTC Evo, he liked it but advised me to go with the iPhone, he said he would switch himself but he has issues with AT&T (since I was already AT&T it wasn’t an issue for me).

So we replaced my wife’s phone (the motorola) with the iPhone… and I was very impressed, so I have since replaced my own (the nokia smartphone) with an iPhone and I’m even more impressed using it myself, it’s night and day better than my previous phone. We’ll be replacing the other 2 (2 sons in college) with iPhone’s in Feb when their contracts expire.

As things stand if nothing changes I’ll be replacing my current iPhone with another one in the future, although I’m actually rooting for Android as well because I’m actually a big fan of linux (I’m a developer that uses linux servers at work) and because competition is good.


pgt September 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Hey, if you like linux you won’t be disapointed if you stay with your iphones. They run (as all iOS devices and all Mac OSX computers) unix.



Jtjdt September 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

I’m a little disappointed that revenue share wasn’t included in this report. Maybe next time. Apple takes about 39% of overall profits from a report I saw.


Craig September 30, 2010 at 2:29 am

You know – this data would be a lot more relevant if Apple was actually playing the numbers game. I’m sure you could make exactly the same graph with Audi (Android) – Ford (Nokia) – Porsche (Apple) and happily conclude that less people buy Porsche’s, more people are buying Audi’s these days and Ford is slumping because they lack vision (Or whatever – I’m just generalizing here..)

All I’m trying to say is that Apple have never played the numbers game – they want to innovate and make great products. If they become popular in the process (and they do..) then good for them.

2% of the entire mobile world…aint bad. That’s a lot of people. Imagine if Apple had the same lack of class Microsoft has and the damage they could do with those numbers..


Col Hawksworth September 30, 2010 at 3:51 am

Nice graphical representation – very effective… what did you use to produce it?

Could I ask what data sources you used… forgive my ignorance, if there are links somewhere; I can’t see them :-)


Samantha Eckles November 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Hi Col, Don’t apologize! We listed our sources in the bottom left corner of the infographic. The font size is small, so click on the infographic to enlarge it and make the text easier to read. Hope we helped. Thanks for reading!


pgt September 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm

I love statistics. Lets see: a few months ago we didn’t have any android phone. now we have, lets say, sold 1. Wow, that’s 100%!!!

And by the way, today we lots of smartphones running android, but don’t forget that not every android phone is what I personally categorize as an smartphone.

Anyway, nice pics.


Head Honcho October 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hasn’t anyone ever dropped their mobile phone? It would be nice to see which mobile phone holds up to the 36″ drop test. DROID takes a punch. At least the G1 does. Also mobile phone demographics would be a nice addition.


Bendik October 2, 2010 at 4:20 am

Seems some likes to compare their device with a porche while the others (mainly android) are just fords or Ladas. Since you kids uses this “my uncle is stronger than your uncle-terminology” I would like to give you a better comparison. Lets say Android is like Lego, and the iPhone is like McDonalds toys. Which one whould you rather have, the one you can play with or the one that looks cool?


Robert Mah October 3, 2010 at 5:49 am

The article makes the assumption that every company’s primary goal is unit market share. While that is the conventional wisdom, and could very well be true for most of the players in the mobile phone industry, I don’t think it is Apple’s anymore.

Note the graph at . Apple commands 39% of mobile phone industry profits. This is 39% of ALL mobile phones, not just smart phones. I’m simply astounded Apple can do this with just 2.8% unit share.

Why do I mention this? Because, IMO, the end goal of a business is to generate profit, not popularity.


Joakim Ditlev October 4, 2010 at 1:37 am

Great charts, but it’s a little confusing mixing 2009 and 2010 numbers together. I know it’s hard to find updated figures, but the US smartphone sales top3 is a good example of a chart that will look way different if you used fresh numbers. It’s somehow disturbing the overview.


Mammut Medien October 4, 2010 at 3:38 am

This is a nice info graphic. And even if some people think there is something missing, I think the way this graphic looks makes me wanna know more and so I can go out into the WWW and search for more information. But this graphic gave me a good overview of what’s going on.

Thanks for the work man.


Bert October 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

This is all based on the incorrect assumption that Apple is trying to get the largest piece of the market share pie. While I’m sure they’d like a larger slice, total market dominance has never really been their goal. They care about making the best products, not the most popular.

This is kind of like saying BMW is a failure because they make only a small percentage of total cars sold.


James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil October 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm

The comments show how people cater to the personal preferences and even delusions to the exclusion of facts. If you’re an Apple hater, nothing they do can ever be right. If you like Apple’s innovation and style, you will be loyal even in the face of a dictatorial company policy regarding apps and where you can buy them.

This kind of blind non-thinking accounts for religion, politics, the WWE, and probably NASCAR.


Vito October 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I’m an iPhone 3Gs JB user. The next year I wanna buy the next iPhone model, 5th generation.


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