Nielsen: Apple iPhones, Android phones dominate U.S. smartphone market

In third quarter 2011, in the U.S., 71 percent of those with smartphones own either an Apple iPhone or an Android-based phone. But when it comes to smartphone apps, iPhones and Android smartphones are even more dominant: 83 percent of app downloaders, that is, those who downloaded an app in the past 30 days, use iPhone or Android smartphones.

According to Nielsen’s latest data, 44 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now have smartphones. Among those who purchased a new mobile phone in the last three months, 56 percent chose smartphones. In third quarter 2011, prior to the 4th quarter (October 14) U.S. iPhone 4S release, Android remained the leading smartphone operating system while Apple was the leading smartphone manufacturer.

Nielsen Q311 U.S. smartphone and mobile OS  market share

Source: Nielsen Wire


  1. That 42.8% basket of Android smart phones, are they all the same running the same version of the Android OS and are they all smart phones or are the grouping in the Android feature phones?

    What a mess that chart shows. If you buy an app, will it work on the next phone you buy, can it also run on the tablet you own or may buy later?

    1. That 28.3% basket of iOS phones, are they all running the same version of iOS? How are those 3G iPhones faring with iOS5? Oh yeah, they aren’t capable of being upgraded to iOS 5, and they crawl like a snail even on iOS 4 (yeah, I have two of them). And how ’bout them iPhone 3GS and 4 phones. How is SIRI running on those? Oh yeah, Apple won’t allow that. I guess perhaps we should reclassify them as “iPhone feature phones” since they can’t utilize the best new “smart” feature of iOS. And you know what? My daughter is really tired of trying to install apps on her iPhone 3G and being told, “Sorry, a later version of iOS is required”. So yes, fragmentation is an issue with many of the iPhones out there. Yep, what a mess this chart shows.

        1. Yeah, I do that some times. I moved from an iPhone 3G to an Android phone and have been very happy. Is Android perfect? Nah, not even close. But it’s very good. Same with Apple — far from perfect, but also very good. I own nearly every Apple product made over the last several years (with the exception of an Apple TV and I don’t yet have an iPhone 4S), so I figure I’m entitled to a few pot shots especially when they’re well deserved. Apple’s handling of the iPhone 3G upgrade to iOS 4 and their lack of letting my two iPhone 4 phones use Siri definitely warrant some criticism.

          1. How is it that these trolls always “have nearly every Apple product [ever] made”, but yet still want to own a poor copy of an iOS device? Yeah- how is that compatibility of iOS Apps with your hem’roid device going, huh? Guess you must really enjoy having to buy the same App twice for your iPad (you MUST own one, since you “have nearly every Apple product”, right?) and your ‘droid phone (that’s if there even is a ‘droid version), huh?
            F’in troll…

            1. Nope not trolling, and Android is nothing like iOS. I love how Apple fanboys criticize android without actually having used it. Some of us just prefer Android. iPhone is good but it’s just not for everyone.

  2. Sad to try to imagine that. Apple can’t keep up with demand as it is. If Android didn’t exist, that 44% figure of smartphones to total phones would be much lower. Or there would be a lot more Blackberry phones being used. Either prospect would be much worse than where we are today.

    1. Wow! Thanks for posting that link. That’s a great graph showing a point of view I hadn’t seen before. I was feeling a bit ticked about how slowly my 3G runs iOS4 … until I saw how badly Android users are being screwed.

      1. So why don’t you and Rick just sell your nearly three year old iPhone 3G phones on eBay or Craig’s List (going price right now is about $150 for a 16 GB model) and upgrade to a 4 or 4S (you surely have to be out of contract at this point- quit giving AT&T free money for a phone that is long out of subsidy!) and quit your bitchin’…
        After all, I’m sure those ‘roid phones are still usable and upgradable with the latest OS three years later…

        1. Well, don’t know about Brau, but my daughters are enjoying using my old 8 GB 3G and my wife’s old 16 GB 3G as iPod Touches (i.e., just took out the sim card). One daughter was frustrated enough with the lack of apps on iOS 3.1.3 to update to iOS4, while the other one is running iOS 3.1.3. Regardless of how slow they run apps, they’re still fantastic devices for music. My wife already has an iPhone 4, and as I mentioned in a post above I switched to and Android phone. I got the Moto Atrix on the day it came out last February, as it was the first phone released with a dual core processor. And yes, my Android phone OS is current and will likely be upgraded in the future by AT&T as new versions of Android become available.

          Best I can tell, you’re the only one bitchin’ in this thread. But no worries, there’s an app for that. Here ya go:

          Oh, never mind. That app costs $1.99 and I forgot that you’re a cheap ass. By the way, I really don’t mind paying for both Android and iOS apps — compared to desktop software the prices are an absolute steal.

  3. Clever. Once again comparing an operating system’s (?) sales to the iPhone sales. We’re not as ignorant and uninformed as you would like us to be.

    It is you who are ignorant and uninformed!

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