FORTUNE -- For investors who missed Charles Arthur's useful primer in The Guardian on the difference between market share and installed base, the charts he published Thursday make the point even more succinctly.
The top chart, created from the U.S. smartphone sales data that Kantar publishes, is the stuff of tech headlines -- the horserace in which Apple's (AAPL) iOS and Google's (GOOG) Android have switched leads four times in three years.
The bottom chart, showing U.S. installed base, is taken from ComScore's monthly reports on the relative ratio of Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows phones in Americans' hands.
"When you look at the installed base share," Arthur writes, "the drama is suddenly gone."
"For developers and everyone considering what platform to target it's that bottom graph -- not the top one -- that is the important one. Android and the iPhone own the US market; BlackBerry and Windows Phone have just 6%, which makes them almost a rounding error. "Market share" stories are exciting, but they often fail to capture the reality on the ground...
"The reality is that the only people to whom market share matters is the people who sell the stuff, and they're probably more focused on total numbers -- and profitability."
comScore's August data show iOS outselling Android even without the new iPhones.
FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) iOS may be losing market share to Google's (GOOG) Android worldwide, but in the U.S. its share continues grow, as the latest comScore numbers show.
See chart, above.
FURTHER READING: Daniel Eran Dilger's Data bites dogma: Apple's iOS ate up Android, Blackberry U.S. market share losses this summer. A sample:
"The continued U.S. growth of iOS at the expense MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 5, 2013 11:02 AM ET
New reports from IDC and comScore pull in opposite directions.
FORTUNE -- Pity the poor headline writer trying to make sense of Wednesday's smartphone market share reports.
On the one hand, you have IDC reporting that Apple (AAPL) "ceded" market share last quarter as Google's (GOOG) Android "surges," generating this from the Wall Street Journal:
Android Obliterates Smartphone Market
On the other you have comScore reported numbers showing that -- for the first time MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 8, 2013 6:20 AM ET
Sharing metrics have their share of flaws but offer unprecedented insights.
By Gregory Galant @gregory, contributor
FORTUNE -- In my last column I pointed out that social shares (the number of times an article is shared on social media services like Facebook and Twitter) is the universal and publicly accessible metric for judging an article, simply because it's the only universal and publicly accessible metric for judging an article.
Not exactly a controversial stance, but MOREJul 10, 2013 10:23 AM ET
China's "white-box" manufacturers may now be the major engine of growth.
FORTUNE -- Consider the two charts at right.
Both were drawn from Gartner's worldwide market share data by Needham's Charlie Wolf, who issued his quarterly report on the smartphone market earlier this week.
The first shows Android cutting into the market share gains Apple (AAPL) made at the end of 2012 when it launched the iPhone 5 and cut the price of the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 29, 2013 10:53 AM ET
In the U.S., it's everybody's but Apple's according to comScore.
FORTUNE -- It's often been said that Android's share of the U.S. smartphone market has come chiefly out of the hides of Research in Motion's (BBRY) BlackBerry and Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Phone, but nothing shows this quite as clearly as Horace Dediu's charts at Asymco.com.
Not that Apple (AAPL) hasn't been hurt by the success of Google's (GOOG) mobile platform. Some of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 5, 2013 6:56 PM ET
But Samsung isn't falling behind the iPhone as fast as it was in February or March.
FORTUNE -- Google's (GOOG) Android, at 52%, took the largest share of U.S. smartphone sales in the three month period (Jan. - Mar.) covered by comScore's report Friday. But it managed to lose 1.4 percentage points sequentially, while Apple (AAPL), at 39%, gained 2.7.
In the Apple vs. Samsung competition, Apple widened its U.S. lead, which MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 4, 2013 10:56 AM ET
The arc of grey bars tells the story of Android in the second largest smartphone market
FORTUNE -- According to the chart above, drawn from comScore data and posted Friday by Asymco's Horace Dediu, sales of Google (GOOG) Android smartphones in the U.S. peaked in December 2011.
Sales of Apple (AAPL) iPhones, by contrast, continue to grow in the U.S. Dediu attributes that to broader distribution (three of the four major U.S. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 6, 2013 6:28 AM ET
Of the 10.4 million new smartphone users between Nov. and Feb., 85% went to Apple.
FORTUNE -- One way to view the U.S. smartphone data released Thursday by comScore (spreadsheets below) is to look at the total number of new subscribers in the 3-month period covered (November 2012 to February 2013) and compare the number of users who bought Apple (AAPL) iPhones with those who chose Google (GOOG) Android phones.
Total new MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 5, 2013 7:13 AM ET
According to ComScore, Kindle Fire outsells Samsung's Galaxy tablets 4 to 1 in the U.S.
FORTUNE -- One of the surprises in ComScore's chart-packed Mobile Future in Focus "webinar" Wednesday was the relative sizes of the orange Amazon (AMZN) and red Samsung bands in the chart above.
Apple (AAPL) maintained its position as the No. 1 tablet manufacturer, but in battle for dominance among the Android tablet makers in the U.S. market -- MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 21, 2013 7:01 AM ET
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