iPhone 4 led U.S. smartphone gains in 2011

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Apple’s iPhone 4 was the leading mobile phone in the U.S., despite being a phone launched mid-way through 2010, according to a new Nielsen report. The iPhone helped propel smartphone usage in the U.S. to new heights during the past year.

Smartphone penetration rose significantly compared to two years ago, Nielsen noted. In 2009, just 18 percent of mobile phone users were packing smart devices, while in 2011, that number had risen to 44 percent of U.S. residents, with more than half of adults between 18 and 34 counted among them. The iPhone in general has done a lot to propel that adoption.

Credit: Nielsen

Of individual device vendors, Apple is still very much on top, despite the fact that Android as a platform has eclipsed its market share on devices. Apple’s iPhones account for 28.6 percent of all postpaid smartphone subscribers, compared to 15.8 percent for BlackBerry, the next closest competitor, and 15.8 percent for HTC, the Android handset-maker with the largest manufacturer share. All together, Android devices accounted for 44.2 percent of U.S. postpaid plans between August and October 2011.

Nielsen takes its results from monthly surveys of more than 300,000 consumers, as well as data from devices belonging to users who opted into market research and data from phone bills from 65,000 volunteers.

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