A new report from Nielsen says that Apple is the number one smartphone vendor in the US, while Android remains the most popular mobile operating system. This research follows Apple’s last earnings call, in which it was announced that 20 million iPhones were sold in the last business quarter.

Following Apple’s dominance in the US is, surprisingly, Motorola. Samsung actually placed third, with both Motorola and Samsung owning a huge percentage of the Android market. Essentially, Apple moves more hardware while Android gets installed on more handsets.

“However, because Apple is the only company manufacturing smartphones with the iOS operating system, it is clearly the top smartphone manufacturer in the United States. Other leading manufacturers include HTC, whose Android phones represents 14 percent of the smartphone market and whose Windows Mobile/WP7 devices account for 6 percent of the market; and Motorola, whose Android devices are owned by 11 percent of smartphone consumers. Samsung’s Android devices are used by 8 percent of smartphone owners while their Windows Mobile/WP7 phones are used by 2 percent of smartphone owners.”

In terms of OS usage, Apple still places pretty well:

“According to June data from Nielsen, Google’s Android operating system (OS) now claims the largest share of the U.S. consumer smartphone market with 39 percent. Apple’s iOS is in second place with 28 percent, while RIM Blackberry is down to 20 percent.”

This report also follows the news that Apple has overtaken Nokia as the world’s largest smartphone vendor. Let’s also keep in mind that, in the US, Apple’s 28% of the smartphone market excludes the iPod touch and iPad. So, Apple’s general mobile numbers are much bigger.

Android devices have also been reported to suffer a 30-40% return rate, while the iPhone’s return rate stays in the single digits.

Think about how a cheaper iPhone model would saturate the market— we’re sure that Apple certainly is with numbers like these.

In light of all the rumors about Apple’s upcoming iPhone announcement, more iPhones are expected to ship in 2011 than every other year combined.

[The Loop]