HTC No.1 for smartphones in the U.S.

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HTC No.1 for smartphones in the U.S.

HTC edged out Samsung Electronics to become the largest smartphone vendor in the U.S., capitalizing 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 market share from a year earlier gave Taiwan-based HTC 24 percent of the world’s largest smartphone market in the third quarter, ahead of Samsung’s 21 percent, California-based researcher Canalys said in a statement yesterday. Apple fell to third at 20 percent, while RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, had 9 percent.

HTC, which made the world’s first phone using Google’s Android in 2008, benefited from strong relationships with U.S. carriers and made different models for each operator. Apple’s iPhone 4S and new devices from Samsung may help the two global smartphone leaders gain share in the U.S. this quarter as HTC forecasts its first shipment decline in almost two years.

“Because the 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 customization of handsets, which has made operators more willing to market and sell their devices.”

Apple, Samsung

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 Apple was affected by consumers awaiting the next iteration of the iPhone, Canalys said. Android has 44 percent of the U.S. market for smartphones in use, Apple’s iOS has 27 percent and BlackBerry has 20 percent, ComScore said earlier this month.

Samsung and Apple are the two largest smartphone vendors globally, followed by Nokia, U.K. researcher Strategy Analytics said last week.

RIM’s ‘bleak outlook’

RIM, hit by a three-day worldwide outage last month, had its BlackBerry market share in the U.S. decline to 9 percent from 24 percent a year earlier, the biggest decline of all smartphone makers, Canalys said. Samsung climbed to 21 percent from 14 percent a year earlier, while Apple dropped from 26 percent to 20 percent.


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