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Android leads U.S. smartphone race, says Pew

Jul 12, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Android took the top position among U.S. smartphone market share with 35 percent, followed by Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry, each with 24 percent, says a Pew Research study. Android is particularly strong among younger adults and African Americans, says the study.

Some 35 percent of owners who call their phones a "smartphone" use an Android phone, estimates Pew Research. This is compared with 24 percent share each for users claiming to use Apple's iPhones or Research in Motion's BlackBerry handsets.

Palm and Microsoft took a six percent and four percent share, respectively, says the study. About 35 percent of U.S. adults now own smartphones, says the research firm.

The metrics — culled by Pew Research from a poll of 2,277 adults, conducted April 26 to May 22 — represent the first time the research firm has performed a measurement of smartphone ownership.

U.S. smartphone adoption by OS, split by how respondents describe their phone (cell phone vs. smartphone); April 26 through May 22, 2011
Source: Pew Research Center
(Click to enlarge)

Pew's findings dovetail with recent metrics from IDC, ComScore, Nielsen, Gartner, and other researchers showing continuing increases for Android. Last week ComScore, for example, said Android increased from 33 percent to 38.1 percent in the U.S., while Apple hit 26.6 percent and RIM fell to 24.7 percent.

Nielsen's U.S. smartphone numbers through May had Android at 38 percent, too. However, as with its report from the previous month, the research firm noted a slowdown in Android's rapid ascent, with the iPhone regaining some momentum.

Another Pew finding is that Android phones are particularly popular among young adults and African-Americans. iPhone and Blackberry adopters, meanwhile, "skew towards those with relatively high levels of income and education," says Pew.

U.S. smartphone adoption by OS vs. demographics; April 26 through May 22, 2011
Source: Pew Research Center
(Click to enlarge)

Ultimately, smartphone adoption is highest among the affluent and well-educated, the young, and non-whites, says Pew. Some 59 percent of adults living in a household earning income of $75,000 or more are said to be smartphone owners, while 48 percent of those with a college degree own smartphones.

Roughly 58 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 now own a smartphone, with 49 percent of those aged 18 to 24 and 44 percent of those ages 35 to 44 having one, says the study. Finally, 44 percent of blacks and Latinos surveyed are smartphone users.

Also, while PCs and laptops continue to be the main mode for U.S. users to access the web, one quarter of the smartphone-owning population claimed mobile phones are a main source of their web access, says the study. Some 87 percent of smartphone owners are said to access the web or email on their handheld.

Despite Android's continuing upsurge, the platform faces numerous challenges, from patent battles to fragmentation, as detailed in this new eWEEK slide show. And there's always another nasty malware attack or another security hazard lurking around the corner. The latest is a pair of Android Trojans called HippoSMS and Zeus, both of which intercept incoming SMS messages.

Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.

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