According to Don Kellogg from the Nielsen Company, 31% of all mobile phone users in the U.S. own some type of a smartphone. More interestingly, it appears that the race for market share in the U.S. by the leading smartphone platforms - Android, iOS and BlackBerry -  is in a dead heat.


We have already learnt from analysts at Canalys that shipments of Android-based smartphones globally commanded a 32.9% share of the market, followed by devices running Nokia's Symbian OS at 30.6%, Apple's iPhone OS at 16%, and RIM's BlackBerry OS at 14.4%. Nielsen's report today shows that RIM and Apple are still fairly popular in the US, being on equal terms with Android in terms of market share. In fact it is likely that Apple's closed platform has limited its reach and stymied its growth globally, something it may wish to rectify if it hopes to match Android's market share and growth.

Although the Canalys and Nielsen reports appear to be at odds, it is prudent to bear in mind that Canalys looked at total shipments of smartphones worldwide, whereas Nielsen's report focusses on the install base of smartphones only in the US.

Irrespective of which report you look at, Android's growth has been astounding. In Q4 2009, the Android platform commanded a mere 2% of the market. In contrast, RIM's BlackBerry OS has really floundered with its market share falling by over 10% in the last year. Apple, however, has remained fairly consistent at around the 28% mark.

So, it hardly comes as a surprise that in the past six months, more people have chosen to buy an Android device over a BlackBerry or an iPhone.



Another interesting metric surveyed by Nielsen was the ethnicity of smartphone owners.


According to their survey Apple's iOS is the platform of choice for Asian/Pacific Islanders, while the BlackBerry is favoured by African-Americans. Caucasian and Hispanic users appear to be using all three platforms evenly.

Credit: NielsenWire

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • Paul

    This is what I've been saying. Apple may be doing well now and there are a lot of fanboys defending them, but you can't deny the facts. Android is growing by leaps and bounds, more and more handsets, more and more features. Look at where they were 1 year ago vs today, look at apple 1 year ago vs today. While apple still continues to slightly grow, Android is growing at a phenomenal rate. At this speed, at this momentum, they'll overtake apple permanently in only a matter of months. The iPhone 5 will of course help, but when that's released, a slew of easily comparable if no better Android phones will be out at the same time. I just don't see how one company can innovate or out-spec or out-think Motorola + HTC + Samsung + LG + Dell + Acer + Asus, etc. When there's that much muscle behind you, it's only a matter of time.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

    What's interesting is that the iPhone is not locked down to a single carrier outside of the US, but people still choose to use Android.

  • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

    I think all you Android fanyboys need to get ready to change your Huggies. Sure, Android may be on more devices, but given that Apple is only producing one phone compared to all of you partners. Furthermore, I wonder if these studies take iPad into account.

    You Android fanboys are having to resort to using Microsoft's line to compete. Face it: Google has lost its ways and your along for the ride of the downward spiral.

  • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

    Oh lookie here: iOS now accounts for 2% of global web browsing traffic, Chrome rounds the 10% mark. That's right folks, you heard it here first: Android has less browsing share than iOS.

  • Mike D

    What I know for sure is that the intense competition among all cell phone manufacturers is great for innovation and keeping prices in check.