Android Still Dominates, but Apple iOS Sales Have Jumped, Thanks to T-Mobile

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iOS Sales Jump, but Android Still Leads

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, phones equipped with Google's ( GOOG ) mobile operating system accounted for 52% of all smartphones sold in the US in March and April. For the same period, Apple's ( AAPL ) iOS took a strong second place position, with 41.9% of all American smartphones sold. That figure, an increase of 3.5% from the same period last year, may be attributed in part to T-Mobile ( TMUS ) beginning to sell the iPhone. The iPhone 5, which debuted at T-Mobile in mid-April, was the company's top selling phone for the full three-month period ending in May.

Kantar also claims that iOS has further room to grow with the provider, with 28% of T-Mobile subscribers who plan on changing their phone within the coming year primarily interested in getting an iPhone.

In a far-off third place, Microsoft's ( MSFT ) Windows Phone took 4.6% of smartphone sales during the March and April period.

Facebook's Graph Search Is Being Officially Rolled Out

After Facebook's ( FB ) Graph Search launched in a beta version back in January, the feature is making its official debut today and is being rolled out to all Facebook users over the next few weeks. Employing vast tracts of very specific user data, the tool allows users to ask very precise questions, such as "Friends that like Batman" or "Photos of friends that have traveled to Costa Rica."

As Mark Zuckerberg described the feature back in January, "Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and give you links that might have answers. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide an answer."

Graph Search will likely prove a valuable asset to the social network, as Facebook is preparing to use it in selling demand-fulfillment ads that target existing consumer demand rather than focusing on generating it. Graph Search is only available on the website, and not on mobile. Continued attempts by Facebook to monetize its business and data will probably included a Graph Search feature for mobile.

SpaceX's Grasshopper Moving Closer to Taking Passenger Up Into Orbit

Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind PayPal (EBAY), SolarCity (SCTY), and Tesla (TSLA), SpaceX wants to send people into space using rockets that can both lift off and land (landing in a capsule in the middle of the ocean is obviously not preferable to most consumers). SpaceX's latest launch of its reusable Grasshopper rocket reached a record height of 1,066 feet and puts the company one step closer to realizing its goal of sending travelers into space.

On June 14, the Grasshopper rocket lifted off to 1,066 feet and then safely descended back to its launch pad, though the company only released video of the launch on July 5. The launch, which benefited from a new sensor aboard the Grasshopper that provides thorough details on the rocket's relation to the ground below, represents a major step for the company. Only four months ago, the Grasshopper rocket hadn't even reacher an altitude of 300 feet.

New Rival Has Support From American Express and Will Smith

According to Bloomberg , the New York-based social commerce company The Fancy has raised $53 million from American Express (AXP), actor Will Smith, and billionaire Len Blavatnik, among others. Moreover, the company is valued at $600 million, with sales of $3 million per month. Before this, The Fancy had raised $60 million in multiple rounds of fundraising. Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, was an early investor.

The Fancy's parent firm is Thingd, short for "Thing daemon," a company that was originally launched with the broad ambition of building "a database of every thing in the world." Now, with The Fancy focusing more on consumers collecting and then buying goods online, the site will be able to use its newest influx of investment to compete with e-commerce rivals Pinterest and Wanelot. Pinterest handily leads in this new e-commerce sector, with a valuation of nearly $2 billion and hundred of millions of dollars raised in investment capital.

Sites like Pinterest and The Fancy allow users to discover products and designs they like, put them together on their profiles, share those profiles, and buy those products they've discovered and shared. Moreover, they attract retail companies that seek to take advantage of targeted online advertising, as well as style trending that can be concretely measured with user data.

These social consumer goods sites are also an ideal source of so-called "affinity data," which reveals concretely and specifically how consumers like to spend their money. Affinity data has the potential to generate substantial demand and income, given how valuable it can be to advertisers for maximizing their return on investment. Affinity data offers social consumer goods companies a lot of potential upside.

The Bloomberg report describes The Fancy as a company that "sells items like light-up shower heads and alcohol flasks with cigar storage." The Fancy describes itself as "part store, blog, magazine, and wish list." Add the social context of these sites and the affinity data it can provide, and you've got a whole new business model that is attracting a lot of attention from both consumers and investors.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks , Technology

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , FB , GOOG , MSFT , TMUS

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