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Droid's Week One Sales Impress, but Is Android OS the Real Winner?

Motorola's Droid smartphone got serious chunk of press coverage when it launched a few weeks back, and no wonder—it's possibly Motorola's one and only chance for a comeback. But how well did it sell?

droid sales

Flurry did the hard number crunching to work out the sales figures for Droid, by examining how many times apps connected to Flurry's system were run on iPhone 3G S and Android-powered Droid and myTouch3G phones, and detecting how many new handsets were activated in each device's first week. The plain numbers make the situation pretty clear:

The iPhone 3G S leads the pack with 1.6 million first-week sales, with the myTouch3G trailing at a tiny 60,000 units. The Droid beat the myTouch and sold a significant 250,000 even though that's six times smaller than Apple's sales figure. But this isn't representative of how successful the Droid's sales really were: Apple's 3G S was launched over an installed user base of some 27 million existing iPhones (by Flurry's calculation), riding the wave of all the good publicity surrounding the previous incarnations of the device. And while Droid benefitted from the PR of prior Android handsets from other makers, it was a brand new gizmo for Motorola. Flurry notes that the 3G S also launched in eight countries, while Droid hit the shelves in the US alone, giving Apple a significant advantage, and suggesting that if Motorola had tried the same trick its first week sales figures may well have rivaled Apple's.

But does this data represent a significant win for Droid and Motorola? Perhaps not. The 3G S was a relatively small-step upgrade over the previous iPhone 3G which sold a million units in its first weekend. And despite the plethora of good write-ups for the Droid in the media, it's possible that Droid's high profile is a bit of a sham—numerous later assessments of the phone have called its design into question, there's a possible issue with sound quality, and U.K. cell phone network O2 (which previously had iPhone exclusivity there) said it wouldn't be selling the Droid because it failed the company's tests.

Instead, we should probably think of the figures as being a boon for Android itself, rather than the Droid. This is the fastest-selling Android-powered smartphone to date, and that really suggests that the OS is only going to expand its market share as other manufacturer's release smartphones that beat the Droid—which is just a matter of time.

[Via Flurry]