The NPD Group has confirmed that Google's mobile Android operating system managed to claim more than half of the U.S. smartphone market in 2011.
The popular OS captured an impressive 53% of smartphone sales from January-October 2011, while Apple's iOS increased to a 29% market share.
In contrast, RIM's OS share declined to 11%, forcing the company to make "critical business" decisions in an effort to shore up its US smartphone business.
"Few companies have felt the impact of the shift to touch user interfaces and larger screen sizes as negatively as RIM, but the company is beginning anew with a strong technical foundation and many paths to the platform," explained NPD Group executive director Ross Rubin.
"As it prepares to introduce smartphones on its next-gen platform, RIM has already made some important incremental improvements with the release of the BlackBerry 7 operating system. RIM is now is ranked fifth among smartphone OEMs, behind Apple, HTC, Samsung, and Motorola."
According to Rubin, the competitive landscape for smartphones has effectively been reshaped by industry heavyweights Apple and Google.
"This ultimately forced every major handset provider through a major transition... For many of them, 2012 will be a critical year in assessing how effective their responses have been."
Motorola Mobility seems to be one company that quickly adapted to the new paradigm by adopting Android - with its share of smartphone sales rising concurrently to 16% of the market in Q4 2010 before settling back down to 12% by Q3 2011.
"Android has helped Motorola climb back into the smartphone market; now, though, Google will seek to use Motorola's patent pool [after buying Motorola Mobility] to help protect other Android licensees," added Rubin.
However, the future of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership remains relatively uncertain, as both companies must build from almost nothing to carve out success between the consistency of the iPhone and the flexibility of Android.
Even though Microsoft’s former smartphone operating system, Windows Mobile, peaked at 50% of smartphone sales in Q2 2007, Windows Phone 7 (WP7) has thus far failed to claimed more than 2% since launching in Q4 of 2010.