Nielsen: Android garnered 43% of U.S. smartphone market in August 2011

“According to an August survey, 43 percent of all smartphone owners have an Android device,” Don Kellogg reports for Nielsen Wire.

“Apple iOS remains popular in second place with 28 percent of all smartphone users, and the same percentage among those who recently got a new device. But those figures could change quickly in the months to come,” Kellogg reports. “Every time Apple launches a new iPhone or makes it available on a new wireless carrier, there is an increase in their sales.”

“Changes in share aside, the smartphone pie is getting bigger. While 43 percent of all mobile subscribers in the US had a smartphone as of August, 56 percent of those who got a new device in the last 3 months chose a smartphone over a feature phone,” Kellogg reports. “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. 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.”

Nielsen US Smartphone OS, August 2011

More info in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Knocking off Apple’s IP seems to do good things for market share (not to mention BOGOs out the ying yang). Profit share? Not so much. Freedom from defending against patent infringement lawsuits? Even less success.

Related articles:
Apple could buy the entire mobile industry – September 8, 2011
Apple officially ousts Nokia as world’s largest smartphone vendor – July 29, 2011
Apple took two-thirds of available mobile phone profits in Q211 – July 29, 2011

27 Comments

    1. Important to note ladies and gentlemen is ……

      iOS stood at 28% while Android took share from others ….. Not from iOS ……

      With release of iPhone 5 and the iCloud Apple’s numbers will mushroom and ……

      Android will be stuck with their current OS afraid to develop ….. Apple will quickly bury them and their OS …..

  1. It’s pretty much “out there” that the iPhone 4 is going to be replaced in October, so I’d heavily discount the significance of the “last 3 month” numbers. Keep in mind, this phone is over a year old now and is competing with dozens of Android competitors across all carriers in both the contract and pre-paid markets.

    Also there’s that “margin” thing, which I hear counts for something when it comes to making more money than God.

  2. Where are they all? I move around all day with a broad range of contacts and been paying attention to what phones are around me. I see more Blackberries than androids, but there aren’t many BBs either. It’s all iPhone iPhone iPhone. I have to guess the droid owners don’t use them much. Or maybe they’re ashamed to be seen using them.

    1. I see a very rare Android sighting, but I agree, far more Blackberries than Android phones. Also, the text chimes and ringtones I hear the most for smartphones are iPhones.

      On a side note, I noticed the fine print of the newest Droid commercial, the one where the woman downloads a song and then goes kickboxing. Motorola pays Lucasfilm for the right to use the trademark “Droid”, so not only does Motorola lose money on its Droid handsets (not to mention the production and air costs of those stupid commercials), it has to pay George Lucas for each Droid phone sold.

    2. Wow, not sure where you guys live, but Android phones are everywhere where I live. Probably due to the fact that in my area Verizon is the dominant carrier. Hence, Android phones really got a foothold here when the iPhone was an AT&T exclusive.

  3. “Android” is NOT a product. The Android “platform” is fragmented into sub-groups that should be considered separately in terms of market share, not collectively against iPhone, which is a product and a cohesive and mostly not fragmented platform.

    1. *DING* Also note that Android is (for the moment) FREE.

      So what is really being compared here? It’s not about Android versus Apple. It’s about individual cheap mobile phone makers versus Apple. Let’s see THOSE individual sales figures please! THAT’S what’s meaningful. Not FREE versus PAID. Duh. 😯

  4. Android consistently wins the market share competition, and yet the majority of mobile internet traffic comes from iOS devices. What does that tell you?

    It tells you that “get a free Android phone” deals are great for inflating market share by getting your phones into the hands of people who don’t really want one.

    ——RM

  5. Well, regardless of whether these numbers are correct or not, they do represent a trend. Android is most certainly growing as a platform, as fragmented of a patchwork as it is.

    The health of a OS-based platform depends, for the most part, in the availability of attractive applications. In fact, from that, it follows that it actually depends on the attractiveness of such platform to the application developers. From that angle, iOS does not have reason to fear even a significantly larger market share of Android. There are numerous reasons why iOS is more attractive development environment than Android, and most participants here know them already (unified eco-system, vs. fragmented, disparate mess, with myriad different hardware devices, all with different specifications).

    There is only ONE significant reason why Android may be gaining popularity. While the cheapest iPhone costs at least $650 (after the subsidy is paid off), cheapest Android phone can be had for less than $100 (unsubsidised, full retail price). Obviously, nobody in their sane mind can compare the two devices, but Android is Android; whether the $600 HTC Evo, or $80 Huawei on MetroPCS, it is included in the market share.

    I would venture a guess that more than half of all Android phones out there are the sub – $300 (AFTER subsidy) devices, i.e. ultra-cheap crap smartphones. People who buy these Androids are people who simply cannot afford the real thing. Furthermore, they just came to Android from a crappy dumbphone Nokia; for them, the ability to have Facebook, IM, Google Maps and their e-mail is mind-blowing. They simply don’t know there actually IS a better thing.

    1. I would agree with you that there are a whole lot of crappy Android phones in the market right now. But if you look at the majority of Android phones that are coming out now (and for the last few months), they’re mostly middle to high end phones. And new phones are coming out almost every week. What that is doing is killing off all the crappy phones. Now if someone wants an Android phone for cheap, they simply buy the top-of-the-line phone from 6 months ago. They can get it for next to nothing. Case in point is the Motorola Atrix. Very nice phone with dual-core processor, 5 MP camera, front facing camera, 1 Gig RAM, 16 Gig built in memory. It came out the end of Feb or first of March. You can now pick one up for free (or nearly free). With deals like that, the crappy low-end Android phones are disappearing (except for pre-pay plans).

  6. Don’t forget the app developer’s profits. Apple and the iOS developers are winners. Android developers, I don’t think it’s great for them. So many variations, which one to develop for and where will people find it? The Android Black Hole for developers or post it next to that malware app.

  7. One thing that never gets mentioned in these articles… You have to BUY an iPhone, you get 3 free androids for walking in the door. 7 free if you buy one…

    If apple had a bogo deal… That 28% would be a lot higher.

  8. This particular argument is correct to some point. Indeed, Android is a bit fragmented. They should have a low, mid, and high (or “competitive”) range breakdown for Android numbers. Granted, usually these numbers are related to internet traffic, but in an honest poll that takes the device type ranges into mind, Android and iOS will be much more neck & neck. Also, remember, for some (like myself) carrier preference still rules device choice. I’ve been with T-Mobile for 7 years next month, and have quite a great rate plan from it. I don’t get throttled when i pass my 10GB data cap, nor do I have to pay for my wifi hotspot tethering. I’m set. My first step toward smartphones was the Sidekick II. Then I moved up to a Windows Mobile 5 powered MDA, then the Windows Mobile 6 Wing. During that time period I was retiring my iPods because I had so many problems with them, iTunes, and my iBook G4. I picked up the Zune 30 and fell in love with how well it worked my music and multimedia, especially wireless syncing the next fall. When Android was announced available on the G1 3 years ago, I was in the preorders. Didn’t mean I had no desire for an iPhone, I just didn’t have the option. Later I purchased an iPod touch 2G, and had my taste of iOS. Following that, I upgraded to a myTouch on T-Mobile, then tried out a Blackberry Bold 9700. I actually retired the myTouch for the Blackberry. I also picked up a Zune HD to upgrade my personal music player to something more modern. It was when 2.2 was announced that I picked up a Samsung Vibrant/Galaxy S. I had a lot of problems with it and swapped to a G2, my current phone. I love my hardware keyboard, and had missed it on the other 2 Android phones, so I was glad to have one again. Windows Phone 7 was out last fall so i picked up an HD7, to see where the future of Zune was going and what WP7 would become. It was a joke at first, but they are catching up pretty quick. Also, I upgraded to an iPod touch 4, in favor of having one iOS device around to toy with, and FaceTime convenience. For this tax season i got an Xbox 360, and i LOVE my video games on it, and the integration with Windows Phone. The very last thing i had to debate about this tax season was iPad or “other Android tablet”. The availability of returned Wifi Motorola Xooms gave me a good price break on an open box one, and I’m actually using it now for this post.

    The point behind this all is that I have had plenty of experience with all 4 main smartphone platforms, and always chose high end Android devices, which is what would be chosen by anyone “in the know”. Indeed, my partner, who always got my hand-me-down phones (and my 2nd Gen iPod touch), grew to love his myTouch, and chose a Motorola Defy when he decided to get a new phone. The example there, is that the Defy is a mid-range phone, $100-150 on a 2 yr at the time. But his phone competes pretty well with mine, and is better than the myTouch. Meanwhile, my neighbors have gotten a Galaxy S (yet she has no clue what to do with it, just found the market and soundhound), a Huawei Ascend (cheap-o, no capacitive touch screen), and a Motorola Charm (Blackberry-like, lower end Android phone with a low-res screen). Android is out there on so many different devices, I can understand the argument that complete idiots are getting Android phones. But even someone like myself has picked it over iOS, due largely to customization options, SD card availability, carrier availability, choice, and hardware keyboard availability. It’s my choice. I would argue that an Android phone is cheaper, too, but mine are the same price as an entry-level iPhone. Except I got a 32 GB SD for $30 this past weekend. So my Android phone now is cheaper than a 32GB iPhone. It’s my choice to stay cheap, I’m a college student, working at Minimum Wage. I chose my situation. I have respect for some Apple products, but not all are for me. Especially not their expensive computers that i cant take apart and upgrade piece by piece like I’ve been doing to my gaming desktop since 2006. I guess I’m a niche case, but I will argue for the consumer in saying that we all benefit from the back and forth between the platform makers. The patent trolling and wars have the possibility of making this market a stagnant place, when right now that’s not a wise idea. Just like AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile would stagnate carrier competition to the 2-man show between AT&T and Verizon. Both have Blackberries, Android phones, Windows Phones, and the iPhone. It comes down to which of those 2 u want, making Sprint a complete also ran that fights hard and gets very little in return. *shrug*

    Oh, and as an amateur developer, it’s FAR cheaper to develop for Android than iPhone. I wrote apps on my $270 Ubuntu-powered NETBOOK. $25 developer fee is a small one time price, compared to the $99/yr Apple charges. Apple iOS development requires a Mac, and like I said, they aren’t too cheap, and clearly my budget is constrained. Not to mention I retired my iBook as a laptop for web use when Google sent me a CR-48 Chromebook. But even my Xoom has superceded that. Convenient back pocket tablet, my Xoom is. And the Android Market on both phones and tablets has great “featured” sections where great apps are highlighted. So the worry of malicious apps are few n far between. Reputation and word of mouth gets Android developers exposure to the crowd of devices out there.

    Just my two cents.

    1. College student, minimum wage… Your post so very clearly comes from your own personal angle, and as such is totally valid. In a way, it confirms what I had said in mine: Android is bought by those who simply cannot afford the iPhone.

      As far as development costs are concerned, it is again the matter of perspective. For you $100 is too expensive, as is $1000 for a Mac. I can’t possibly imagine an actual software developer (person who does this for a living) who would find $1,100 prohibitively expensive. Perhaps in Burkina Faso; not in the United States (or any other developed country). Even in the developing world, the difference between cheapo netbooks and cheapest Macs (don’t forget, you can always get a second-hand if you’re so poor not to be able to afford a new one) is a few hundred dollars. This is rarely an obstacle for a professional. In the end, you get what you pay for.

  9. And as far as “patent trolling and wars” are concerned, you are again looking at it from your personal perspective.

    Let us imagine, for a moment, that you developed this great piece of software that allows people to synchronize all of their data between various devices. You call it “Synco” and patent it. You start selling this software, it becomes massively popular, you start making serious money. Let’s say, six months later, Google comes out with free software called “Allsync” and offers it to hardware makers. It turns out that Google’s software does EXACTLY the same thing that your does. Surely enough, within six months, Google’s Allsync becomes wildly popular and overtakes your own Synco in popularity. Your software runs only on iOS, while Google’s runs on all sorts of devices. Your market share is melting, while Google is building theirs on your idea. You sue Google for patent violation. Surely enough, many start calling you patent troll, trying to suppress innovation and stifle the free market.

    If you could imagine yourself in that position, you would clearly see why Android simply cannot be allowed to exist in its current shape, as it contains stolen methods, principles and actual code. There is a reason why it is cheap: its authors didn’t have to come up with their own ideas — they took others’.

  10. Predrag:

    Valid arguments, indeed, but some points. I got my iBook in summer of 2005, and really didn’t know what to do with it other than browse the web. There was no other logical reason for me to have spent that money on a product that does the same thing as any other computer and had no other strong point. Even if i had that kind of money now, I’d spend it on a new processor and motherboard, as well as memory and hard drives, for my gaming desktop. Maybe replace a dead fan. But then again, I’ve found myself moving away from the desktop, so maybe a gaming laptop, which can be the same price as some MacBook Pros, and just as capable. Superiority isn’t measured by price or design, it’s measured by function. Does it fit in a place where you previously had a need. The tablet, I honestly never thought I would need, but I find joy in using it anywhere at any time. I can see why an iPad would make just as much sense, especially if locked into the apple ecosystem. The price point is just something I will never understand with Apple products. Why pay a premium unless u need something that an Apple product does that can’t be similarly done elsewhere? And iTunes is a great example of this, why should I choose iTunes, which requires me to manually add my 3rd-party music files in every time I visit Amazon? With Zune, I can buy music on my Xbox 360, my desktop downloads it, and it syncs automatically, wirelessly, to my Zune HD and Windows Phone. Sure, that function is coming in iTunes. Bravo. But the unrestricted nature of media on Zune or Amazon MP3 makes for a very versatile world.

    As for being a developer, and hypothetically making a product, I’d first like to point out a mistake I personally would not make. Developing for one platform is a death sentence. I would never publish an application without first planning or starting an app on the second and possibly 3rd most popular platforms. The other is that if Google makes it, patents it, and makes lots of money from it, good for them. I’m glad. If Apple did it, I’d be rather concerned because Apple doesn’t like to develop for Microsoft or Linux platform technologies, be they Windows, Windows Phone, Ubuntu, or Android. It’s about broad availability. A tool won’t be successful unless it’s accessible to all. That’s the point Google tries to make in a lot of its products. The web is ubiquitous but some things just can’t be done just on the web. And when that situation arises, Google makes it available cross platforms, usually Windows and Mac first, with Linux not too far behind. I wouldn’t be offended by the “stolen” IP. Because it is something for the better of the community at large. Just like the news that the patent & trademark office turned down Apple’s patent on multi-touch technology implementations. It’s not right for them to lock it down. It’s natural human gestures that make sense, and should be available to Android, Windows Phone, webOS and Blackberry OS. There’s a superiority complex in this tech-fueled world, and I don’t understand why it has to be that way. Apple has features that differentiate them from Microsoft and Google, just like they have features that differentiate them from Apple. Should Google be suing Apple over the iOS 5 notification shade? Regardless of if they have a patent on it or not, I applaud Apple for recognizing that the notification system on Android is very useful. Doesn’t make it superior, by any means, just because Apple chose it. Another important point to make is how Android itself was started in late 04-early 05. Apple’s iPhone design had never been shown off, nor finalized (if even in design stages) back then. Most of the Android UI was pretty finalized, especially come November of 2007 when the SDK was unveiled. And at that point Apple didn’t even allow 3rd party applications. So the point that Android is copying Apple time and time again is moot. Apple is putting camera controls right on the lock screen in iOS 5, hasn’t anyone seen HTC SenseUI or the 3rd party Android ROM CyanogenMod? These feature functionality exactly like Apple’s. And let’s not forget Windows Phone’s pocket to picture. There have been MANY times I’ve grabbed my Windows Phone to capture a time sensitive image because I just hold the camera button and it kicks on into the camera and remains locked. It’s a feature like that which is for the greater good of the community, and the consumer.

    And I’m sorry if my opinions seemed biased, but I have made my point that I give every platform a chance. I’ve not discredited iOS because fanboy “superiority” complexes are rather childish in a world where everyone should help each other. And don’t give me the dog-eat-dog rhetoric because if you had a close family member that was being “eaten” in whatever way you wish to interpret that, you can’t say you wouldn’t come help them. The smartphone wars are becoming more about brand anymore than differentiation. But there is still drive from differentiation. Example. Google develops a means with which to play music that neither Apple nor Microsoft has. Apple makes a similar, competing product. Microsoft follows suit. In an effort to make themselves more appealing, Apple may add to the product certain features. Microsoft may choose the best of both worlds. Google counteracts that with their own features not present in Microsoft or Apple’s products. It’s that back & forth, cat & mouse game that drives innovation. Google is just the likely one to make that product work across platforms. Case in point: Google Music. I love it, and I use it on my computers, tablet, and Android phone. But I also use it extensively on my iPod. You won’t see Apple make their iCloud service available outside their ecosystem. And that’s what makes it so hard for many to pick up, like myself. I want to be able to move from product to product in case something better comes along. AmazonMP3’s cloud player suffered that when Google Music came out, myself included in the mass defection from Amazon to Google. Free 20,000 song capacity? Yes, please.

    One final argument. Paid vs free services. PlayStation Network vs Xbox LIVE. I paid $50 for a year of Xbox LIVE. PSN is free. Xbox is the premier experience, with more people on it, not to mention that’s where my friends are. Those friends also use a mix of Android, iPhones, and Blackberries. No Windows Phones (yet). So free doesnt always win, if it’s a worthwhile service. Microsoft worked VERY hard to make Xbox LIVE compelling enough for people to pay, and it paid off. So iTunes match & iCloud may end up not being a bad idea, for those willing to fork out the $25/yr. If Google’s is the same price on final release, I will evaluate the feature sets for both services before paying. If neither is compelling enough, I go back to carrying around my 32GB Zune HD. Simple.

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