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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article

November 02, 2010

Nielsen Study Finds That 28 Percent of US Mobile Subscribers Have Smartphones

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

If you feel like you're the only person left in the world without a smartphone, there's some good news. You're not alone. But the bad news is, it may not be long before you WILL be alone.

Research from the Nielsen Company found that as of the third quarter of 2010, 28 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers now have smartphones, or cell phones with operating systems resembling those of computers, allowing the user to browse the Internet and send and receive e-mail.

Nielsen attributes the recent explosion of smartphone growth to the growing popularity of handsets such as Apple’s iPhone (News - Alert), RIM’s Blackberry devices and a variety of Google Android-based models now on the market. Among those Americans who acquired a new mobile phone in the past six months, 41 percent chose a smartphone over a standard phone. This figure is up from 35 percent last quarter.

Despite the strong penetration, the U.S is still behind much of Europe in smartphone penetration. Though the figure of 28 percent puts us on par with smartphone ownership in the U.K., we are still well behind Spain, which reported a smartphone penetration rate of 37 percent last quarter, and Italy, which had a smartphone penetration rate of 33 percent last quarter. According to Nielsen’s new Global Smartphone Report, Symbian is the most popular smartphone operating system in Europe. Symbian is the operating system of choice for Nokia and Sony-Ericsson (News - Alert), which are among the most popular handsets in Europe.

In the U.S., the Apple iPhone OS has nearly caught up to the RIM Blackberry OS, with 28 percent and 30 percent market share, respectively. Google’s Android (News - Alert) OS is now at 19 percent, though that number is predicted to trend upward strongly in the future. Among those who chose a device in the last six months, however, Android took the lead, while RIM Blackberry and Apple (News - Alert) iPhone are essentially tied for second place.

In terms of demographics of smartphone users, Nielsen found that owners of Android smartphones tend to be younger than those who choose other operating systems: 50 percent of Android owners are under the age of 35. Apple, however, has the most smartphone users under the age of 44. RIM's BlackBerry (News - Alert) has the largest percentage of users in the 45 and older age group.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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