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Android now most desired smartphone OS in U.S., study says

Apr 27, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Nielsen reports that 31 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers said they would prefer Android for their next phone, compared to 30 percent for the iPhone. Overall, Nielsen estimates that 37 percent of smartphone subscribers and 50 percent of recent subscribers use Android phones, up sharply from January.

Nielsen detected a preferential shift that reflects Android's ascension, which has happened rapidly in the last six months. When, in the July through September 2010 period, Nielsen surveyed U.S. consumers planning to buy a smartphone over the next year, one third of the respondents said they wanted an iPhone, compared with 26 percent who said a handset running Android was on their shopping list.

However, when Nielsen conducted the same survey from January through March 2011, 31 percent of consumers who plan to acquire a new smartphone said they were looking to buy an Android device. No slouch itself, the iPhone dipped to 30 percent.

Next desired smartphone OS among U.S. consumers planning to buy within year
Source: Nielsen (March, 2011)
(Click to enlarge)

When looking at existing share among U.S. smartphone subscribers, Google's Android operating system rose to 37 percent share, compared with 27 percent for Apple's iPhone through March, according to the latest Nielsen data. That's up eight percent from Nielsen's March 3 accounting for January, when the researcher said Android notched 29 percent, breaking a statistical tie with Apple's iOS and Research In Motion's BlackBerry platforms.

U.S. smartphone share among recent acquirers (left) and total subscribers (right)
Source: Nielsen (March, 2011)
(Click on either to enlarge)

Nielsen also found that 50 percent of those surveyed in March 2011 who said they had purchased a smartphone in the past six months said they had picked an Android device. Some 25 percent of recent acquirers said they bought an iPhone, no doubt buoyed by the launch of the iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless.

While the OS share differences between recent and total acquirers indicate all the platforms are sliding due to Android's rise, RIM appears to be suffering from the worst Android migraine. Nielsen said RIM had only 15 percent share among recent buyers compared with its total share of 22 percent.

Nielsen isn't the only vendor to chart Android's rise. ComScore estimated earlier this month that Android now commands 33 percent U.S. smartphone share, compared with 25 percent for the iPhone.

However, ComScore also noted last week that the prevalence of Apple iOS devices outpaced Android gadgets by 59 percent. Specifically, the researcher said iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches combined to reach 37.9 million users, compared with 23.8 million combined Android smartphone and users of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, and other Android tablets.


The latest Nielsen U.S. smartphone report summary may be found in this Nielsen blog.

Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.

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