Android smartphones top iPhones, BlackBerries for first time

Nielsen survey of 14,000 customers puts Android at 29 per cent

Android smartphones beat out iPhone and BlackBerry devices for the first time in the U.S. in the latest Nielsen Co. survey conducted just prior to Verizon Wireless sales of the iPhone.

Android devices made by several manufacturers were used by 29 per cent of the U.S. market in the November through January reporting period. That compares to 27 per cent each for both Apple iPhones and BlackBerry devices from Research in Motion, Nielsen reported.

In Nielsen s most recent report from December, the three top smartphone operating systems were in a statistical dead heat, a Nielsen spokeswoman said Friday. http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/among-mobile-phone-users-hispanics-asians-are-most-likely-smartphone-owners-in-the-u-s/ I would say [today] is the first time we allude to Android being the lead.

Microsoft s Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 smartphones got 10 per cent of the U.S. market from November through January, while the WebOS from Hewlett-Packard gained four per cent and Symbian from Nokia earned two per cent.

Nielsen relied upon 14,701 postpaid mobile subscriber surveys to reach its recent results. That approach is different from the figures for sales or shipments of smartphones used by Gartner, IDC and other analyst firms.

The Nielsen blog uses guarded wording to describe Android s top position, which has been recorded by some analysts in recent months. Android appears to be pulling ahead of RIM BlackBerry and Apple iOS, Nielsen said.

Still, RIM and Apple came out on top compared with competing device makers, such as HTC and Motorola. That s because RIM is the only maker of its BlackBerry devices and Apple is the only maker of iPhones, while the Android OS is used by several manufacturers. For Android smartphones, HTC had 12 per cent, Motorola had 10 per cent, Samsung had five per cent and all others had two per cent.

In another finding, using the same sample, Nielsen found that Android seems to be attracting more younger consumers. Among smartphone customers ages 18-34, Android was used by 14 per cent of customers, while the iPhone was used by 12 per cent and the BlackBerry was used by 11 per cent.

Customers ages 25-34 years constitute the largest smartphone user group, slightly ahead of the ages 35-44 group. The third-largest smartphone customers group is ages 18-24, according to Nielsen.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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