February 6, 2014, 1:42 PM

It was a good fourth quarter for iPhones

Apple’s iPhone continues to grow its share of the smartphone market while Android phones’ share drops once again, finds comScore, which also breaks down the smartphone market by device manufacturer.

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Apple Inc.’s iPhone continues to chip away at the dominance of Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system, according to new figures from comScore Inc.

The web measurement firm says that as of December 2013, 51.5% of U.S. smartphone subscribers aged at least 13 years old used devices running Android. That’s down 0.3 percentage points from 51.8% in September. By comparison, 41.8% of subscribers used Apple iPhones, up 1.2 percentage points from 40.6% in September.

“It’s a solid market share gain over a three-month period,” says Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights at comScore. “It’s basically a two-horse race at the moment, and I would expect that both iPhone and Android will continue to maintain sizeable shares of the overall market in the foreseeable future.”

The laggards include: BlackBerry, with 3.4%, down from 3.8%; Microsoft Windows, with 3.1%, down from 3.3%; and Symbian, with 0.2%, down from 0.3% in September.

When measuring smartphone share by manufacturer, Apple comes out ahead, accounting for 41.8% of subscribers, up from 40.6% in September. That compares with:

• Samsung, 26.1%, up from 24.9%

• Motorola, 6.7%, down from 6.8%

• LG, 6.6%, unchanged from September

• HTC, 5.7%, down from 7.1%

The comScore report also says that 156 million U.S. consumers own smartphones, which translates into 65.2% U.S. mobile market penetration, the web measurement firm says. The number of smartphone owners increased 3.2% when compared with September.

The overall uptick in smartphone penetration is interesting,” Lipsman says. “We typically see seasonal gains in December as people get smartphones as holiday gifts, but it’s notable that we are now at 65% smartphone penetration in the U.S., with iPhones obviously contributing heavily to recent growth in the market.”

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