Is Android stealing the iPhone's mojo?

Last quarter, smartphones that use Google's operating system outsold the iPhone for the first time. Are we entering the age of Android?

An iPhone.
(Image credit: Flickr)

In the first quarter of 2010, devices running Google's Android operating system eclipsed U.S. sales of Apple's iPhone for the first time ever. According to research firm NPD Group, Android sales accounted for 28 percent of the smartphone market, compared with 21 percent for the iPhone. (Blackberry devices still hold the top spot at 36 percent.) In addition to the wide variety of Android phones available, many commentators credit Verizon's buy-one-get-one-free phone promotions with Android's jump in sales. Is this shift in dominance merely a blip on the market radar, or a sign that the iPhone is past its prime? (Watch a report about the Droid's superior sales)

Google's plan is paying off: Google's OS has inspired "an army" of Android-compatible phones to compete with Apple's iPhone, says Ryan Kim in the San Francisco Chronicle. So while Apple remains a strong competitor, Android's strong sales clearly mark a "turning point" — proof that "that the Android platform is gaining momentum."

"NPD: Android zooms past iPhone in Q1"

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Sales numbers don't tell the real story: Keep in mind you can get a Droid smartphone for "twenty bucks" — a tenth the price of an iPhone, says Harry McCracken at Technologizer. But keep watching: "If a booming market for Android phones result[s] in popular apps being available first on Android, or content owners striking Android-only deals, or makers of popular accessories not bothering to support the iPhone," a real shift in dominance will be at hand.

"It would be kind of stunning if Android phones were outselling iPhones"

Steve Jobs isn't worried: "Being number one" in overall sales has never been a "high priority for Apple," says Jeff Smykil in Ars Technica. Instead, "Apple likes to live" in the "world of high margin, niche products." So Apple's current number three spot "probably doesn’t bother [Apple CEO Steve Jobs] all that much."

"Android overtakes Apple in US smartphone market"