Google Android Handsets Surpass IPhone in Japan Smartphone Market Share

Handsets running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software captured 57 percent of Japan’s smartphone market last fiscal year, cutting the share of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone, MM Research Institute Ltd. said.

Shipments of Android phones rose to 4.91 million units in the year ended March 31, Tokyo-based MM Research said in a statement today. That compares with sales of 250,000 units, or 11 percent of the market, a year earlier when devices running Google’s software started to be widely available in Japan.

Apple shipped 3.23 million iPhones in Japan in the last fiscal year, accounting for 38 percent of the nation’s smartphone market, the report said. The company, whose mobile phones are offered exclusively by Softbank Corp. (9984) in Japan, shipped 1.69 million of the devices for a 72 percent share a year earlier, according to the report.

The Cupertino, California-based company remains the most popular handset maker in Japan, according to MM Research. Sharp Corp., which introduced its first Android model in June 2010, was second with a 24 percent share of shipments, followed by Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB’s Xperia with 9.8 percent.

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