The worldwide legal back-and-forth between Samsung and Apple is being reflected in the U.S. market, where each can claim triumph. Overall, according to a new comScore survey, Samsung has the largest market share in the U.S. among all handsets, while a survey from another firm puts Apple's iOS platform crossing 50 percent for the first time.
The comScore report, released Thursday and based on a survey of more than 30,000 subscribers aged 13 and above, reports on key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three months ending in November.
It found Samsung had a 26.9 percent share of total mobile subscribers, including feature phones as well as smartphones, an increase of 1.2 percent over the previous report that was driven by sales of its Galaxy S III. In September, Samsung forecast sales of 30 million units for the S III in global sales, and it reported 20 million S III units sold worldwide in the 100 days since it launched in May.
Samsung's opponent in courtrooms throughout the world, Apple, was second in the comScore survey with 18.5 percent, up 1.4 percent. However, year-over-year, Apple has been slowly increasing its U.S. market share. In the November 2011 report, for instance, it took fourth place with 11.2 percent.
Additionally, the new comScore report does not include most of the holiday season, during which Apple is expected to have done boffo business.
LG followed with 17.5 percent, then Motorola at 10.4 percent and HTC with 5.9 percent. The relative rankings of these top five was the same as in the quarter ending in August.
The report found the smartphone market continuing to grow, with 53 percent mobile market penetration in the U.S., an increase of six percentage points since the August report.
Among smartphone platforms, comScore said that Android continued its reign, with a slight increase of 1.1 percent to 53.7 market share. Apple's platform standing by comScore increased 0.7 percent to 35 percent, and Research In Motion, though far behind the leaders, kept third with 7.3 percent.
This was a 1 percent drop from the August quarter for RIM, and, depending on one's perspective, it could signal a deteriorating position or a base on which the Canadian company could build its comeback following the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 platform at the end of this month. Or both.
Microsoft was fourth at 3.0 percent, a drop of 0.6 percent from the previous report, and the quickly dying Symbian was 0.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage points.
The comScore report found that mobile content usage was still in the proportion as previously. The most frequent usage was for sending a text message, with three-quarters of respondents reporting that activity. Slightly more than half utilized downloaded apps or used a browser, nearly 40 percent accessed a social networking site or blog, slightly over a third played games, and about 28 percent listened to music on their phone. All activities were within one point of their level in the previous quarter.
Although comScore shows the Android platform on top in the U.S., another survey, by Kantar WorldPanel ComTech last month, found that Apple's iOS platform, boosted by the iPhone 5, had achieved 53 percent of the U.S. market in the 12 weeks ending November 25th. This was the first time the firm found Apple past the halfway mark, and further gains were expected for December.