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Apple's Smartphone Share Rises, But Android Growing Faster

Stop us if you've heard this before: In the mobile world, the big players keep getting bigger, while the small players keep getting smaller. Yet another quarter has passed and comScore reports that for the three month period ending in November, both Apple and Google made small gains in smartphone OS market share, while RIM's BlackBerry, Microsoft's Windows Phone, and Nokia's Symbian all saw corresponding loses. 

Google further cemented its position at the top of the heap, increasing its share by 1.1 percent over the previous quarter to finish with a 53.7 percent slice of the smartphone pie. Apple's 0.7 percent increase gives it 35 percent of the market. The launch of Windows Phone 8, on the other hand, apparently failed to generate much enthusiasm for Microsoft's mobile products. You have to wonder how big of a splash BlackBerry 10 will make when it launches at the end of this month. 

The consolidation continued on the hardware front, where a similar trend was observed. The top two manufacturers—Samsung and Apple—tightened their grasp on the market, whereas the rest of the top five OEMs all lost some footing.

ComScore's numbers show Apple gaining slightly more traction than Samsung in the quarter, likely due to the release of the iPhone 5, but that trend might not continue into 2013. Today, Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston told Reuters that his firm expects Samsung to widen its lead over Apple in the new year, largely due to Samsung's incredibly diverse product base. If there's a market segment to be filled, Samsung's there, while Apple's lineup is much more streamlined, being limited to a single new iPhone released each year. That could change if rumors about a trio of multihued iPhones prove true, however.

It's important to note how comScore calculated its numbers. The company simply surveyed 30,000 U.S. smartphone users and asked for details about their phones—a far from scientific process.