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Nielsen: iPhone, not Android, now driving US smartphones

updated 09:40 am EDT, Thu June 30, 2011

Nielsen study shows iPhone bouncing back in US

Nielsen bucked common perceptions Thursday with a study showing the iPhone controlling smartphone growth in the US. Supporting earlier looks, it saw Android's growth among recent buyers as having entirely flattened out the moment the Verizon iPhone was available, at 27 percent, and continuing through at least May. The iPhone sat at 10 percent of newer buyers at the start of the year but surged to 17 percent by May.

Android still had the overall market share lead at 38 percent, but the iPhone was still growing its share at 27 percent. Either platform was mostly taking share away from the BlackBerry, which declined again to 21 percent. Every other platform, including Windows Phone, was largely static.

The shift reinforced a mounting belief that Android's growth in the US has been helped more by the absence of the iPhone outside of AT&T, not necessarily through direct demand. A deeper test is expected with a new iPhone in September, since many are believed to be holding off on buying a Verizon iPhone until an upgrade and might have a chance at buying a Sprint or T-Mobile version at the same time.

RIM stands to lose the most as trends have see its share of recent buyers drop to just six percent, putting it only slightly above "other." RIM has acknowledged delays in getting modern BlackBerrys as a significant problem but is seeing a poor future outlook that will have seen it lose a quarter of its market share in just the space of half a year. Concerns exist that it may not recover the share it once had even if the Bold 9900 and other BlackBerry 7 phones prove popular.

Smartphone ownership crossed a milestone as a whole in the US. About 38 percent of American cellphone owners now have a smartphone, and this year smartphones overtook basic feature phones in sales trends, with 55 percent of recent buyers getting one of the more advanced handsets.

By Electronista Staff


  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    I look forward

    to a comment from wrenchy and facebook_Clarence apologizing for their relentless Droid trolling and their cowardice in avoiding commenting on any story which casts iOS/iPhone in a positive light compared to Android devices.



  1. viktorob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2011


    Surprised any one?

    Did anybody expected Android to keep it's grow indefinitely?
    I mean, iPhone was almost head to head with a much higher price and only one carrier in the US.
    Now iPhone added Verizon and also there are officially unlocked iPhones and a cheaper 3GS.
    Android will not disappear, it is the best option for apple heaters or A B A, but still a hobby phone. just like the new HP Tablets full of bugs, looks more like a prototype than a real tablet, but I guess that is more than enough for hobbyist.

    Comment buried. Show
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  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Android could not continue to grow indefinitely

    at the same pace. There are reasons of its rapid growth thanks to more U.S. carriers and lower prices. But will those consumers that bought their Android devices be repeat buyers? Will they remain loyal to Android as the iPhone moves to more carriers? Only time will tell. Once consumers get caught into the Apple ecosystem, it's very likely they won't leave after buying apps and content from Apple. The iPhone lost a lot of rapid growth by being available only on AT&T for three years. However, Apple gained huge amounts of revenue to be able to do anything it needs now for the iOS platform and it will be in the form of services that will be hard to match by most competitors.

    Apple does not need to have greater market share than Android and as long as it can stay close (10% to 15%) all will be well. That would be one company making more money than a combined six or so companies. Why WS doesn't see it that way is beyond my comprehension. I honestly don't believe there is any way Android OS smartphones are going to double iPhone numbers in market share. Why WS is projecting this as such makes no sense at all since Android would have to squeeze out all other OSes to get those numbers.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    No more safe haven for Android

    It was inevitable. Verizon was the closest thing Android had to a "walled garden." Verizon hyped Android phones because they didn't have iPhone. Plain and simple.

    As Verizon subscribers come off contract, more and more will switch to iPhone, and iPhone will dominate on Verizon just as it does on AT&T. iPhone comprises 60% of all smartphone / app phone subscriptions on AT&T.

    Tough sledding. And it will be far worse for Android in the iPad clone space. The cell carriers have little interest in hyping pads because they are still focused on selling the biggest possible voice plans to their subscribers.

    And I didn't even use the f-word. Fragmentation. That's a different and even grimmer story.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    I wouldn't worry

    These "ratings" will change by next month. They always do. Who knows. RIM might suddenly surge to lead everyone, then the following week.. WP7. It all depends on how those anal-ysts feel.


    - Sent from my Android Device.

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