Android Still Most Popular, Apple Gains, RIM Hurting Badly

comScore has the latest stats for the fierce smartphone OS war.

Google’s Android is still number one.  In fact, for the three months ended May 2011, its US market share jumped to 38.1 from 33.0 for the three month ended February 2011.  Apple is still improving, edging up to 26.6 percent from 25.2 percent in February.

RIM’s Blackberry, however, is hurting badly.  It once owned over 50 percent of the market share.  Now, it lost its second place to Apple, dropping to 24.7 percent from 28.9 in February.

Why is RIM falling so out of favor?

Execution likely plays a role and it’s possible that RIM just isn’t making a high quality product while Google and its original equipment manufacturers are just churning out great stuff.

However, RIM also suffers from big pictures disadvantages.

RIM is all about business.  Its phones are generally reliable, the battery life lasts forever, and the security is top notch.  If you’re a big shot executive that needs a serious communication tool, BlackBerry is a great choice. 

However, that just doesn’t describe most users, who care more about having fun with their phones and getting access to tons of great apps, hence their preference for the Android and iPhone.

The battle between Android and iPhone comes down to functionality versus ease of use.  Another way to look at it is open system versus closed system. 

Apple controls everything.  As such, they’re able to churn out minimalist, elegant, and intuitive products that give users a consistent and uniform experience.  Android, on the other hand, gives up control in exchange for variety and options. 

One advantage of variety is that there are so many different Android phones to choose from, so users can find the perfect match in terms of price, display size, camera resolution, etc.

Another advantage is that once users buy the Android, they have more freedom to do what they want with it.

It seems the combination of casual users who don’t crave the iPhone and technology-literate users who want the freedom of Android is giving the Google platform enough edge to beat out Apple in this market. 

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