Android is now the fastest-growing smartphone OS in both overall share and sales of new devices — and for the first time, people in the U.S. bought more Android phones than iPhones.
According to a Nielsen study released Monday, 27% of all purchasers of smartphones in the past 6 months bought an Android phone, up from 17% in a poll from the year’s first quarter. The Android OS jumped to 14% of overall smartphone share, just behind Windows Mobile at 15%. Apple dropped from 27% to 23% of new smartphone sales, but kept its 28% second-place position in the total smartphone user base.
The report is probably most troubling for Blackberry, which while still first overall in total smartphone users and new sales, has seen a steady decline in its share of new purchasers, from 45% a year ago to 33% in the recent quarter. Only 42% of Blackberry owners say that they want to purchase a Blackberry next, with a full 50% leaning towards either an iPhone or Android.
Nielsen’s data is not broken down by carrier, but it’s no coincidence that Verizon has heavily promoted the Motorola Droid and other Android phones over both Blackberry and Windows smartphones, while Motorola has in turn pushed against the iPhone, which is exclusive to AT&T. (See Motorola’s new ad campaign for the Droid, “No Jacket Required.”)
John Gruber, whose popular blog Daring Fireball is mostly about Apple news and products, commented: “How much of Android’s U.S. success is attributable to Verizon’s strength as the number one U.S. carrier? I.e., how different would these numbers look in an alternate universe where Verizon, not AT&T, is the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier?”
Gruber also noted that by only counting smartphones, Nielsen’s statistics exclude the iPad and iPod touch, which run Apple’s iOS; including these non-phone mobile devices would give a better picture of the total market for developers targeting each of these platforms. But it’s unclear whether Apple benefits more by having devices like the iPad counted with smartphones or laptops: another new report by IDC shows that if iPads are added to the company’s notebook sales, Apple jumps to third place in the global mobile computing market.