If the second quarter was an especially volatile one in the U.S. mobile space — and it clearly was — then the third quarter quietly saw the continuation of some important trends. The battle between Apple and Google continued to escalate as smartphone sales ramped up, with Android building on its already impressive momentum at the expense of iOS and BlackBerry OS. And while Research In Motion maintained its lead in the U.S., its new Torch device — which sports the new BlackBerry 6.0 OS — received tepid reviews.
Apple was buoyed by the runaway success of its iPad, which has exceeded all expectations and tapped a market that simply didn’t exist just a few months ago. But the Cupertino giant also experienced growing pains in its new mobile advertising business as it began to take on Google and a host of other players.
Meanwhile, carriers jockeyed for position as the industry moved toward 4G technologies and as consumption of mobile applications ramped up. MetroPCS — a prepaid service provider — became the first U.S. operator to bring an LTE network online with a launch in Las Vegas; Verizon Wireless moved ahead with aggressive plans to bring LTE service to dozens of U.S. markets by the end of the year. Verizon also tried to jump aboard the mobile application bandwagon, with a carrier-branded storefront of titles for the Android platform. Amazon, meanwhile, has outlined plans to launch its own app store, signaling what could be a coming wave of new distribution points for Android offerings from non-mobile players — and, perhaps, for other operating systems.