Nielsen: Apple iPhone overtakes RIM Blackberry to become #1 in U.S. smartphone market share

According to October 2010 data from The Nielsen Company, 29.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones with 70.3% owning feature phones.

Apple iPhone has now passed RIM Blackberry to become the most popular smartphone in the U.S.A.

When mobile users who planned to upgrade to a smartphone in the next year were asked about their next phone, Apple’s iOS and Android were tied for “most desired” operating system.

Among users planning to get a new smartphone, current smartphone owners showed a preference for the Apple iPhone (35 percent), while 28 percent of both smartphone and featurephone planned smartphone upgraders indicated they wanted a device with an Android operating system as their next mobile phone.

Featurephone owners planning to get a smartphone are less likely to have made up their mind about the OS they will choose: 25 percent were “not sure” what their next desired OS might be compared to 13 percent of smartphone owners. Those over 55 were markedly less certain than younger mobile users, with 27.8 saying they weren’t sure what kind of device they wanted next, compared to 12.2 percent of those 18 to 24.

Apple’s iPhone and devices with the Android operating system were the “most desired” among likely smartphone upgraders, with Apple showing a slight lead among those age 55+ , 18 to 24, and 25 to 34.

Women planning to get a smartphone are more likely to want an iPhone as their next device, with slightly more males preferring Android.

Source: Nielsen Wire

MacDailyNews Take: Besides the result of Verizon’s sexist advertising campaign for Android, what you are looking at above is likely close to or the high water mark for Android, with rampant rumors of a Verizon iPhone now likely freezing the Android market to some meaningful degree (those who are paying attention or who have sought the advice from those in-the-know are smartly waiting for early 2011 to make their next smartphone decision). If and when iPhone goes multi-carrier in the U.S., the need to settle for a fragmented and inferior iPhone approximation ceases to exist:

• 34% of non-AT&T smartphone buyers would have bought iPhone if their carrier offered it – November 19, 2010
• Survey suggests third of Android owners really want an Apple iPhone – November 15, 2010
comScore: Android taking smartphone market share from everyone except Apple – November 04, 2010
• Google’s Android nightmare: More than half of all Verizon subscribers want an Apple iPhone – August 16, 2010
• Survey shows significant number of Verizon customers covet Apple iPhones – May 24, 2010
• Survey: Verizon customers suffer from iPhone jealousy – May 10, 2010
• ChangeWave: Majority of Verizon customers want iPhones – May 05, 2010


  1. The number of men who will upgrade their smartphone to Android is actually quite large. I’m not sure how much this number will change in 2012, when other US carriers begin offering iPhone (the AT&T exclusivity agreement is actually 5 years, folks; google it up).

    It seems that the marketing campaign of “locked-in, walled garden” vs. “open” is working on many of them. Vast numbers of Android fans relentlessly parrot this mantra, significantly propping up the perceived value of their platform.

    The whole walled garden idea is absurd, as it is all relative; you are only constrained by walls in your walled garden if you keep hitting those walls.

    We all live in a walled garden; it is called planet Earth. Nobody can escape it to live elsewhere; we’re imprisoned on it and can’t get out. Even narrower, most of us are walled into our countries where we live, and barriers to go beyond those “walls” are for many too high to overcome. All of humanity is walled to a certain extent. The only question one should ask is, how big is that walled space, and what does it offer. If I NEVER get to hit any of those walls in Apple’s iOS walled garden, then how do I even know I’m in a walled garden, unless an Android fan tells me so?

    What good is all the open space, if I have to defend myself from attackers, and if that open space is filthy, poorly maintained, with inferior infrastructure (roads, parks, bridges…)?

    Well, apparently, the whole “open” story seems to be convincing enough of an argument for so many men out there. Perhaps it is time for Apple to re-focus their advertising campaign on safety, security, quality and reliability of the ecosystem.

  2. A (male) friend of mine recently got an Android phone to avoid the charges for switching carriers (he really wanted an iPhone). He tried to demonstrate the phone’s apps for me, but he couldn’t get it to work.

  3. “current smartphone owners showed a preference for the Apple iPhone (35 percent),…”

    The graph below shows 30% You should really try to place appropriate graphs closer to the text reference. Especially since the one below seems to be the data you reference

  4. Remember that Apple is against all the Android Manufacturers (HTC, Moto, Panasonic, Sony, etc.) And Google does´t get any money from android per see but from ads. So if you ask me; Apple will make lots of profits and give their users a great user experience, while the rest of the android vendors will fight between them and build cheap phones. Finally the users will get lots of ads and low quality products if they go that way.

  5. I agree with Pedrag:

    The propaganda/PR of ‘…”locked-in, walled garden” vs. “open” is working on many of them.’

    Even tech pundits, media types on the radio repeat this over and over and say how “open” Google’s approach is compared to the “closed” Apple approach.

    It seems Apple have not attempted to address this propaganda assault, and it’s been going on over a year now. Steve did mention “integrated” vs “fragmented” at a recent Apple event, but that still doesn’t address many of the core issues which drive people to become prejudiced against Apple without knowing any facts. Consider:

    -Google still owns its “open” OS, it’s proprietary, and it’s not as open as everyone thinks it is. There is a huge amount of ignorance out there about what “open” really means.

    -G’s approach leaves open many doors for malware and snooping and collecting your private data, even legally….

    -Apple is actually very open with many of its technologies which it contributes to the community, Like Webkit, something competitors use, which even Android uses for free from Apple…

  6. @ Predrag. Sounds about right. My buddy who is not tech savvy by any means spews the same Mantra. And I continue to tell him Android is a jailbroken platform by design. If u want that and I don’t know that he does . Then just jail break The iPhone.

  7. interesting stuff. the survey makes two things very clear:

    – the difference between the 30% of current smartphone owners who “plan” to buy an iPhone vs. the 35% who “desire” to directly reflects the AT&T exclusive’s limitation on iPhone sales. so it’s not as big as some think, but it is a fact.

    – the additional 10% of men that desire to buy Android phones compared to women are the nerds/geeks. so they amount to about 5% of all smartphone buyers (yeah, i know it’s really more complicated than that, but the point is valid). they also account for over 95% of the tech bloggers i’m sure which is why Android gets so much blog hype.

  8. @Google Astroturfer

    Real idiots use wild west unmannered ANDROID. Real men and women use a civilized iPhone tailored to their needs.

    This “walled garden” stuff is pure bunk. People seem to forget how bad it was and how good we have it practically overnight now.

    There’s also that sense of entitlement to do whatever they want with whatever they want whether it’s good for them in the long run or not. Fools impatiently rush in where Angels fear to tread.

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