updated 02:50 pm EDT, Mon May 30, 2011
Nielsen hints Android has stopped growing
Android saw its first real decline in US share last month, Nielsen discovered in its latest smartphone use breakdown. Google's OS dropped in share for the first time in recent memory, down one point from March to 36 percent. The iPhone and BlackBerry were also largely near their earlier levels at 26 percent for Apple's devices (down one point) and 23 percent (up one).
Some of the shift was triggered by demographics that also revealed the low current share for Windows Phone 7. Although it has almost entirely replaced Windows Mobile on shelves, Windows Phone 7 had just one percent of the field and was tied with the defunct Palm OS for share. Nielsen's new division of share gave Windows Mobile the largest share outside of the top three at nine percent where HP's webOS and Nokia's Symbian were tied at two percent.
The stasis wasn't directly explained but corroborated NPD data that showed a slight drop in market share in the early spring. Most have attributed the slowdowns to the introduction of the Verizon iPhone. The second US carrier activated 2.2 million iPhones and may have blunted Android's growth by giving an option to those who wanted an iPhone but had refused to switch to AT&T. Apple's presence also took away Verizon's previously undivided attention to Android marketing.
In a step outside of its usual comparisons, Nielsen found that Android users were also the most data-intensive of platforms. An average owner used 582MB per month, significantly over the 492MB of an iPhone owner. The BlackBerry's compression helped it use the least of all at about 127MB a month, although it wasn't helped by its work focus, a historically poor web browser, and a lack of apps.
Both Android and iPhone users were far more likely than anyone else to download apps. The discrepancy may have been helped by the narrower range of multitasking on iOS, since users on that platform were overall more engaged in media streaming, music downloads, and other tasks that normally use a large amount of content. Blackberry owners were the least involved.