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Summary:

While Android has come on like gangbusters, Apple’s iOS has pushed aside BlackBerry to become the top current smartphone platform as of October, according to Nielsen Co., and the most desired smartphone for future purchases. Android, meanwhile, is most desired among current feature phone owners.

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While Android has come on like gangbusters, Apple’s iOS has pushed aside BlackBerry to become the top smartphone platform in the U.S. as of October, according to Nielsen Co., and the most desired smartphone for future purchases. Nielsen said Apple earned its place with a 27.9 percent share of the smartphone market, displacing former No. 1 BlackBerry, which has 27.4 percent while Android has 22.7 percent. Among all likely smartphone shoppers, 30 percent desire an iPhone, followed by Android (28 percent), RIM (13 percent) and Windows Mobile (6 percent). Nielsen said three out of 10 mobile phone owners (29.7 percent) now own a smartphone, up from 25 percent in the second quarter and 28 percent in the third quarter.

The figures indicate that even with the growth of Android, Apple’s iPhone is still the most coveted among smartphone shoppers. That Android has been eclipsing iOS in recent sales speaks more to the availability of Android devices and less to waning appeal of the iPhone. This is good news for Apple, which is expected to launch an iPhone on Verizon early next year, opening up distribution on the largest wireless network in the U.S.

Still, Android is poised for major growth, especially among new smartphone customers. Nielsen said among current feature phone owners interested in buying a smartphone, Android is their top choice at 28 percent followed by the iPhone at 25 percent and BlackBerry at 11 percent. The iPhone enjoys more support among current smartphone owners, with 35 percent interested in buying an iPhone, compared to 28 percent for Android.

While the iPhone remains the most desired smartphone among 18 – 34 year olds and 55-and-over users, Android is tops among 35 – 55 year olds. That suggests Android could be headed for solid growth, as first-time smartphone owners and older mobile subscribers turn to it as their first smartphone.

Interestingly, the iPhone is clearly more popular with women, with 30.9 percent saying they desire an Apple phone compared to 22.8 percent of women interested in an Android device. For men, the competition is closer, but tilted in favor of Android 32.6 percent over iOS 28.6 percent. RIM, meanwhile, has its work cut out for it. BlackBerry, which was the top smartphone in the third quarter, now trails iOS, and isn’t heavily desired by current feature phone owners. That spells trouble in a market that’s growing fast.

It may be confusing to hear the back and forth statistics on which is ahead: iOS or Android. But with 7 out of 10 cell phone owners yet to buy a smartphone, there’s a lot of runway ahead. That should be encouraging for Microsoft and HP, as they try to get back into the smartphone race and a warning to Apple and Google to stay on their game.

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  1. Where are the error bars?

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  2. Are we talking about THE WORLD or just one country???

    It amazes me how arrogant americans often are (the WORLD series, for example!)

    Mark.

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    1. Hamranhansenhansen Wednesday, December 1, 2010

      The World Series was started by a newspaper called The World. It has nothing to do with international competition in baseball.

      The chart clearly says “US market”.

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    2. It amazes me how uninformed you are Fred.

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    3. It amazes me how ignorant you are Fred. Nielson Ratings agency is an American institution that’s been around since the 1930′s. I don’t go flipping out when I read articles from the Register a U.K. website when they talk about something specific to the British culture. It’s a website based in the U.K. obviously it will have a British slant to it. If you don’t like what’s on this American website than stop reading it!

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  3. Hamranhansenhansen Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Android … yawn. Cheap feature phone buyers are interested because Android runs on cheap feature phones.

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  4. I have nothing to add to the conversion, however I do like that if you click the article image it comes up with your entire desktop. You have a whole lot of stuff going on in there!

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  5. Not surprising, women & kids are the most susceptable to marketing (apples core market). While grown men choose android

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    1. I agree. I love telling the story about the the soccer mom my girl and I saw in the local app store telling the sales kid, “I NEED an ipad, my daughter wants one. What is it anyway…?”. The daughter was like 13. How many of these numbers are kids who want one cause Becky across the street is getting one, and how many of the these are dumb @ss parents that just buy their spoiled kids $hit…. My homeboy who is my age (29) and still lives at home has had every model iphone. I asked him if I could check out his i4 the other day; he has 3 apps!! The only reason he has an iphone is cause thats what his mommy and daddy bought him. He has no idea what to do with it…

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  6. More people will always buy Chevies instead of BMW’s – or even Volkswagens – in the United States. Doesn’t mean they’re making the smarter decision or even a sensible one.

    Advertising that sales decisions should be made on price rather than value has to have some effect after a half-century or so.

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  7. Overhype and overprice crappy trinkets will always attract gullible people who also buy flashy BMW’s for showing off, when Toyota’s are better values

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  8. My $230 Android Optimus M kicks $600 iPhone’s behind. In almost all respects, the Android phone is faster and more productive. Mainly because of multitasking. Call sound quality and the built in speaker are amazing.

    iPhone does have a bigger and higher resolution display.

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  9. [...] search and ad-based revenue, so the company probably isn’t about to ignore what is arguably the most desired and top smartphone platform. But does that excuse Apple dragging its heels on providing competing, better-integrated services [...]

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