HTC edged out Samsung Electronics to become the largest smartphone vendor in the US, capitalising on the Android platform’s popularity and a lull in demand for iPhones to overtake Apple and Research In Motion. A 10 percentage-point jump in share from a year earlier gave Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC 24% of the world’s largest smartphone market in the third quarter, ahead of Samsung’s 21%, Palo Alto, California-based researcher Canalys said in a statement on Tuesday.
Apple fell to third at 20% while RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, had 9%. HTC, which made the world’s first phone using Google’s Android in 2008, benefited from strong relationships with US carriers and made different models for each operator. Apple’s iPhone 4S and new devices from Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung may help the two global smartphone leaders gain share in the US this quarter as HTC forecasts its first shipment decline in almost two years. “Because iPhone 4S wasn’t yet ready during the quarter, there was a window of opportunity for others, and HTC benefited from this,” said Wang Wanli, who rates the stock “buy” at RBS Asia in Taipei. “HTC has historically done more customisation of handsets, which has made operators more willing to market and sell their devices.”
HTC sells its high-end models, which include faster processors and higher-quality cameras, for less than similar Samsung products, Wang said. Samsung offers more low-price models overall, bringing its average sales price below the Taiwanese company’s, he said. HTC and Samsung benefited from the rising popularity of the Android operating system, while Cupertino, California-based Apple was affected by consumers awaiting the next iteration of the iPhone, Canalys said.
Android has 44% of the US market for smartphones in use, Apple’s iOS has 27%, and the BlackBerry OS 20%, Reston, Virginia-based Com-Score said earlier this month. Samsung and Apple are the two largest smartphone vendors globally, followed by Nokia, UK researcher Strategy Analytics said last week