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Android — and mobile web — usage keeps growing, say reports

Jul 8, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Android has continued to gain smartphone OS market share this spring, gaining four percentage points from February through May to take 13 percent of the market, says ComScore. Meanwhile, a recent Pew report shows that 40 percent of Americans are now using mobile phone Internet services, up from 32 percent in 2009.

ComScore released another three-month report on the U.S. smartphone market, once again showing growing momentum for Android. The four percent increase was not as dramatic as the 5.3 percent boost reported for Android from December through February, when it rose to nine percent market share, up from 3.8 percent. However, unlike the other four major mobile operating systems (OSes), Android was the only one to show an increase during the spring, says ComScore.

U.S. smartphone share by OS, three month average ending in May

Source: ComScore

Some 49.1 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in May, up 8.1 percent from the corresponding December through February period, says ComScore.

"Despite losing share to Google Android, most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers, as the smartphone market overall continues to grow," states the report.

Research in Motion (RIM) continued as the clear smartphone leader in the U.S. with a 41.7 percent share of U.S. smartphone subscribers, followed by Apple with 24.4 percent, says ComScore. Microsoft, which lost the most ground, dropping 1.9 percentage points, ends up at 13.2 percent. Fourth place Android is said to be trailing closely in fourth place at 13.0 percent, while Palm is said to have rounded out the top five with 4.8 percent. 

Although ComScore did not offer further analysis of the results, it does not appear that any single phone dominated the Android numbers. Whereas by most accounts, Android's rise the previous quarter was led by the huge sales of the Motorola Droid, this spring a variety of new players likely shared the bounty.

Still, many of the other high-profile Android phones such as the HTC Droid Incredible (pictured), did not appear until the end of the period. Apple's one percent OS share drop, meanwhile, was likely due to a lull in the market in anticipation of the iPhone 4, which did not ship until June.

In ComScore's top vendor list for total mobile phones, as opposed to smartphones only, Samsung showed the most growth with a one percent boost, stealing first place from LG, which trailed closely at 21.5 percent, says ComScore. Motorola followed at 21.2 percent, and RIM and Nokia trailed substantially in fourth and fifth place (see diagram above).

U.S. mobile OEMs share, three month average ending in May

Source: ComScore

ComScore also reports that 65.2 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device in May, up 1.4 percentage points versus the prior three-month period, while browsers were used by 31.9 percent, up 2.3 points. Some 30 percent of subscribers downloaded applications, an increase of 2.1 percent, and social networking use climbed 2.6 percent to a total of 20.8 percent of mobile subscribers, says ComScore.

Mobile Internet use way up, says Pew

A Pew Internet & American Life Project report released yesterday found substantial growth in mobile subscribers in the U.S. going online. Some 40 percent of American mobile phone subscribers now browse the web, use email, or use instant messaging on their mobile phones, says the study. This is said to be up eight percentage points from a year ago.

In total, 59 percent of American adults are now online via wireless communications, including access from laptops, up from 51 percent in 2009, says the study. As usual, 18- to 29-year-olds lead the way in mobile Internet and overall wireless usage, while 24 percent of those 65 and over do not use wireless Internet services, and 56 percent still do not use the Internet at all.

Some other interesting demographic trends are coming into sharper focus, says the study. These include growing mobile usage among adults with low levels of income and education, as well as among African-Americans and Latinos.

Cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites — 87 percent vs. 80 percent — and they take advantage of a much greater range of mobile features, says the study. In total, 64 percent of African-Americans are said to access the internet from a laptop or mobile phone, a seven-point increase from the 57 percent who did so a year ago.

The Pew study also reports that the biggest increase in usage of particular mobile phone features was found in video recording. The number of mobile subscribers taking movies with their phones has risen from 19 percent to 34 percent over the last year, says the study.


The ComScore report on smartphone OS share from February through May may be found here.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project study on mobile phone usage in the U.S. may be found here, and an eWEEK story on the report should be here.

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