Apple, Microsoft gain smartphone market share as Android growth slows to lowest point since 2009

Android’s growth may be faltering as Apple and Microsoft see gains in their smartphone market share according to the latest report from comScore.

The metrics firm’s latest survey found Apple was the fastest growing OEM, increasing its share of the handset market to 14.4 percent, up 1.6 percent since January. Samsung was the only other OEM to see an increase in its market share, posting a 0.5 percent gain to account for 25.9 percent of all handsets. LG, Motorola and HTC saw their market share fall by -0.5, -0.7 and -0.4 percent, respectively. When isolated to just smartphones, Apple’s share of the market increased by 1.9 percent, accounting for 31.4 percent of all smartphone users.

ComScore also found that Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform surprised with a modest gain to smartphone subscribers, reversing a five month decline. In Feb. 2012, Microsoft’s share of smartphone users was 3.9 percent, but it was 4 percent in April. The platform’s overall contraction has also slowed — between Jan. 2012 and April 2012, Microsoft’s share of smartphone subscribers fell by 0.4 percent, compared to the 1.3 percent it lost between Nov. 2011 and Feb. 2012.

As we’ve said before, 2012 is the make-or-break year for Windows Phone. Although the platform hasn’t yet emerged as a viable third smartphone platform, there have been some indications the company’s efforts are beginning to turn things around. Sales of the flagship Windows Phone, Nokia’s Lumia 900 have been reasonably good according to Barrons, and in April Distimo found that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace was the fastest growing app store overall. We’ll continue to monitor the platform’s growth closely.

Meanwhile the picture was not as good for Google’s Android. The operating system posted the biggest increase in market share between January and April, seeing its portion of the smartphone market grow by 2.2 percent to account 50.8 percent of all mobile subscribers. However, the platform’s growth has slowed in recent months.  According to comScore records of the period between Nov. 2011 and Feb. 2012, Google was able to grow its share of total smartphone subscribers by 3.2 percent. As Asymco’s Horace Dediu points out, according to comScore’s data, this is the fourth month in a row that Android’s user growth has declined. It is now at its lowest point since 2009.

Total smartphone adoption also slowed, falling to less than 300,000 new activations a week, an after-effect of the extreme growth seen during the holiday season. During December, mobile analytics company Flurry reported an average of 1.5 million device activations a day. On Christmas Day alone consumers activated over 6.8 million devices.