Android Gains While iOS Sales Flatten

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Google’s Android has hit 43 percent market share in the US, while Apple fans wait for the iPhone 5

Google’s Android operating system commanded 43 percent of US smartphone market share through August, up from 40 percent in July, according to new data from Nielsen.

With dozens of Android sets to choose from, some 56 percent of US consumers Nielsen polled in the last three months reported choosing an Android handset.

iPhone 5 sales boost

Apple’s iOS remained at 28 percent for the second month in a row, while RIM’s BlackBerry fell to 18 percent from 19 percent in the prior month.

The flat sales trajectory for the iPhone should be short lived. Apple, which has sold more than 100 million iPhones worldwide, is expected to launch an iPhone 5 with a faster processor, 8 megapixel camera and several interesting software features at an event on its Cupertino, California campus on 4 October.

“Those figures could change quickly in the months to come,” Don Kellogg, director of telecom research & insights, noted in a blog post. “Every time Apple launches a new iPhone or makes it available on a new wireless carrier, there is an increase in their sales.”

The arrival of the iPhone 5 – it’s unclear yet whether it will appear on AT&T and Verizon in October or November – should provide an interesting battle versus Samsung’s Galaxy S II. The S II sold more than 10 million units worldwide without the benefit of many US sales.

The S II launched in the US’ Sprint network on 16 September. The S II, which has a 1.2 GHz, dual-core processor (1.5 GHz on T-Mobile’s version), uses Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus technology to provide the company’s brightest display.

Kellogg’s stats come one month after he polled US buyers and found one-third said they were considering acquiring a smartphone in the next year and said they wanted an iPhone. Another third said they would get an Android handset.

Smartphone growth

Regardless of how the S II and iPhone 5, as well as their predecessors fare in the United States, Kellogg noted the smartphone pie is increasing.

Some 43 percent of all mobile subscribers in the United States had a smartphone through August, though 58 percent of those who got a new device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.

“The holiday season and the launch of new devices like the next iPhone could further accelerate smartphone adoption, though this is always tempered by the fact that many consumers are unwilling or unable to break their service contracts before they expire,” Kellogg added.

“In any event, the growing popularity of app-and-media friendly smartphones spells tremendous opportunity for those advertisers, publishers and developers eager to leverage mobile media.”

To wit, Nielsen’s survey was published the same day Jonathan Carson, general manager of digital for Nielsen, said at the GigaOm Mobilize 2011 conference that the top 50 Android apps take up 60 to 65 percent of smartphone users time. Typical smartphone users use applications such as Angry Birds, FaceBook and Twitter.

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