Android and Apple’s iOS platform both gained share of the North American smartphone market at the expense of BlackBerry, according to the latest data from mobile ad network InMobi. iOS maintained its narrow lead over Android in the first quarter, with as 36.8% share, up from 33.1% in the fourth quarter of 2011. Android came in at 34.1%, up from 32.5% in the prior quarter.
By contrast, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS dropped from a nearly 12% share in the fourth quarter to 7.3% in the first three months of 2012. The quarterly drop-off signals the troubled handset maker’s continuing decline as a result of Apple and Google’s growing dominance of smartphone operating systems.
RIM last month reported sales plummeted 25% in the fourth quarter.
Globally, Android was the top smartphone platform in Q1, however, with 22.2% of impressions compared to 18.2% for iOS.
The iPhone, iPad and iPod alone accounted for 37% of impressions on InMobi’s network in North America, with the BlackBerry 8520 a distant third among individual devices, generating almost 2% of impressions. Among phone manufacturers, Nokia was second behind Apple, with 14% share of impressions, followed by Samsung and HTC (both 9%), RIM (7%), LG (6%) and Motorola (5%).
“Apple maintained its lead over Android and further increased its share of impressions and handset dominance; the new iPad certainly helped its overall position,” said Ann Frisbie, vice president and managing director, North America, at InMobi “However, we know that fierce competition is created across the operating systems when new devices enter the market and this time last year Android surpassed iOS globally.”
Apple should provide figures for iPad and iPhone sales in the quarter when it reports its latest financial results April 24. But sales of the Apple tablet won’t reflect the full impact of the new iPad model, which was only launched last month. Frisbie suggested Apple could see heightened challenges in the U.S. market later this year with a rumored launch of an Android-based smartphone from Amazon and a 7-inch Google-branded tablet.
Microsoft is also expected to introduce a much-anticipated Windows 8 during the latter half of 2012.
InMobi’s North American network grew impressions 18% in the first quarter to 52.6 million, the vast majority of which (84%) came from smartphones.