Apple and Android always duke it out in smartphone statistics. The latest Nielsen market share data says no differently.

From a poll conducted in November of 2010, U.S. smartphone market share is dominated by iOS at 28.6%. iOS is followed by Blackberry at 26.1%, and Android at 25.8%. These numbers are U.S. only, but it is interesting to see how iOS and Android are battling for smartphone dominance.

Depending on how you look at things, the iPhone retains the lead in smartphone market share. However, Android is having greater growth with new smartphone adopters. This means that more people are buying an Android for their next smartphone, and not the iPhone…

When it comes to overall consumer market share, Android is still behind iOS. However, if you look at the statistic of smartphones bought within the last 6 months (as of November 2010), Android is leading the American race at 40.8%. iOS is following at 26.9%.

This number shows a steady increase in Android’s growth since June of last year. RIM has been sitting comfortably in the middle of all these numbers. The Nielsen report says,

“RIM Blackberry’s position is less clear: Its share (26.1%) puts it within the margin of error of both Apple iOS and Android. In other words, RIM remains statistically tied with both Apple for first and Android for third. Apple’s clear lead over Android notwithstanding, this race might still be too close to call.”

While the tech industry always says that Android and iOS are fighting for dominance, the numbers say otherwise. While it may be true that Android and iOS are the two main competitors for innovation (numbers don’t mean everything), RIM is still making a huge dent in recent smartphone sales.

It’s worth noting that carriers have been trying to push Android phones like crazy with substantial device subsidies, ad campaigns, promotions and deals. Financially speaking, it makes sense for a family of four to all buy Android phones instead of iPhones. Apple doesn’t allow AT&T to include the iPhone in hardware discounts and other promotions like every other phone, so the iPhone is usually sold at full price. (Although there have been a few discounts.)

With Apple currently being on only one carrier, while Android and Blackberry are on all of them, it’s amazing that iOS is as dominant as it is. It really speaks to the quality of the platform. And when the iPhone does eventually move to Verizon, who knows how the numbers will change.

Another interesting fact that these Nielsen numbers share, “In November, 45 percent of recent acquirers chose a smartphone over a feature phone.”

It’s nice to know that the RAZR is not as popular anymore.

What do you think about these numbers? Does it surprise you that Android’s adoption rate is larger than iOS’s?

[via Nielsen Wire]

  • chris

    Amazing, Iphone have 2 models currently for sale on 1 network and there still Kickin A. it will be good when more networks are available for iphone. boost some extra sales

  • Monk

    Why is blackberry in list? That phone really suks :s

  • Eye Fone

    Anyone making an androiddownloadblog(dot)COM lol ? 😛

  • My question to you is: what are smartphone *operating system* marketshare figures useful for?

    If your answer is “so developers and consumers can see which is the largest platform for their software”, then why are you not including all iOS devices in your analysis? If you do that, then Apple’s installed base suddenly doubles and leaves both Android and Blackberry in the dust.

    If you answer that OS marketshare figures are important for advertisers, then again, why not include all iOS devices that share the same mobile browser and app platform?

    If you answer “so 3rd party hardware peripheral manufacturers know which platform to target” then you should be considering the far larger number of iOS devices that all share a common dock connector and standard form factor compared to the completely fragmented form factor and dock connector standards of the myriads of much smaller competitors.

    Of course consumers also want to know which phone has the most dock-equipped audio systems, car steering wheel interfaces, clock radios, etc and of course the answer is the iPhone which is virtually unchallenged in this regard.

    The fact is that Nielsen includes tablets like the Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Tab in their figures because Google requires all tablets include cell phone hardware in order to get access to the Android Marketplace. However, Nielsen does not count the iPod touch and the iPad.

    With the iPod touch and iPad completely obliterating the opposition in mini tablets and tablets respectively, Apple still has by far the largest mobile OS platform installed base with over 130 million iOS devices sold.

    In terms of new sales, back in October Apple was selling 270,000 iOS devices a day (peaking at 300,000 on some days) when Google was activating 200,000 Android devices. Recently Google announced they had hit 300,000 activations a day, and while we haven’t yet heard what Apple’s latest figures are it is highly likely they will be higher than Android thanks to the usual pre-Christmas sales surge of all iOS devices.

    If you are only interested in smartphones, then why aren’t you comparing Samsung, Motorola, HTC, etc all individually against Apple and RIM?

    Why can’t analysts make comparisons that are actually useful?


  • Martin you have some good points. From my perspective I find it interesting because in the UK everyone loves iphones, but I am hearing more and more people say they think some of the HTC phones are actually better, which is interesting. I have an iphone and I love it but I’m starting to think they are more show. Does anyone else have any opinions on Androind vs iOS?