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Nielson: Android and iPhone Continue to Dominate



Most tech enthusiasts are very passionate about their smartphone platform of choice, and some recent Nielson data gives both Android and iPhone users good talking points.

According to Nielson’s latest data, 54.9 percent of the U.S. mobile subscribers use a smartphone of some sort as of June 2012. Of the smartphone market, 51.8 percent of users have an Android phone, 34.2 percent use an iPhone, 8.1 percent use a BlackBerry, and 5.9 percent use other myriad platforms. So, more Americans have Android phones than iPhones. That’s not revelatory information.

What is interesting is how much the iPhone and Android are biting into RIM‘s market share. In the last three months only 4 percent of new smartphone buyers opted for a BlackBerry. Meanwhile, 36.3 percent opted for an iPhone, and 54.6 percent chose Android. Shoppers chose “other” platforms 5 percent of the time. That’s more bad news for RIM, but good for Google and Apple.

The data leans in Apple’s favor when Nielson breaks the market share down by manufacturer. Because only Apple makes the iPhone it can claim a whole 34 percent of the market for itself. It’s closest competitor, however, has only half the market share.  Samsung controls 17 percent of the smartphone market. Other notable Android manufacturers include HTC which controls 14 percent of the market, and Motorola which controls 11 percent.

The amazing part is Apple is able to control more than a third of the market with just three smartphones on the shelves across three of the four major U.S. carriers. Two of the carriers only have two iPhone models, and neither of them are free like the iPhone 3GS.

Samsung, on the other hand, has numerous devices in the market, many of which are just slight iterations on the main Galaxy S line. Motorola and HTC also have many models on the market, but both are cutting back to just a few models each year (though still more than Apple’s one new phone every year).

While the data is great for Apple and Android, it’s also depressing for Microsoft and Nokia. Nielson puts Windows Phone 7 in the “others” category in the first chart, and it shown to only have 1.3 percent of the market in the second. That’s still less than Windows Mobile. The 1.3 percent breaks down into Nokia controlling 0.3 percent of the market, while Samsung and HTC both have 0.5 percent.

With any luck Windows Phone 8 will help Nokia and Microsoft gain more market share. With RIM flailing there’s a potential for a new third ecosystem, and Microsoft has the money to spend trying to grab that spot. Nokia might want to quietly move forward with its contingency plan, just in case.

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