Android Takes Lead as Desired Smartphone OS

May 4, 2011

nielsen-os-next-desired-smartphone-may11.gifAndroid has taken the lead on Apple iOS as the most desired OS for consumers planning on getting a new smartphone in the next year, according to Q1 2011 data from The Nielsen Company. Thirty-one percent of consumers desire the Android OS, narrowly beating the 30% who want iOS.

Android Gains Momentum

Android has gained significant momentum since Q3 2010, when it trailed iOS as the desired smartphone OS, 31% – 26%. While iOS only lost one percentage point in that time period, Android also obtained market share from competitors such as RIM/Blackberry (which dropped from 13% to 11%), Microsoft Windows Mobile (which dropped from 7% to 6%), and Palm/WebOS (which dropped from 2% to 1%). Interestingly, the choice of “Not sure” has also grown since Q3 2010, rising from 18% to 20%.

Half of Recent Smartphone Acquirers Purchase Android OS

nielsen-smartphone-marketshare-recent-acquires-may11.gifNielsen analysis indicates the dynamics around desired future smartphone OS are already translating into sales. Half of those surveyed in March 2011 who indicated they had purchased a smartphone in the past six months said they had chosen an Android device. Another quarter of recent acquirers said they bought an iPhone and 15% said they had picked a Blackberry phone.

Android’s share of recent smartphone acquisitions has grown about 20% since it captured a roughly 41% share of Americans who had acquired a smartphone in the last six months in November 2010, well ahead of number two Apple iOS (about 27%). Both of these OS platforms grew in popularity among this demographic from June 2010 (27.5% and 21%, respectively).

In contrast, RIM Blackberry lost close to half its formerly leading share of recent acquirers in that same time period. While 35% of recent smartphone acquirers used the RIM Blackberry OS in June 2010, only about 19% did in November 2010, placing it a distant third.

Android Claims 37% of Smartphone Market

nielsen-smartphone-marketshare-may11.gifAs of March 2011, 37% of mobile consumers who owned a smartphone had a device with an Android OS. Apple iOS, claimed by 27% of consumers, is now outpacing Blackberry, which has 22% of the market.

Looking back a few months to November 2010, Android OS (about 26%) was still behind Apple iOS (close to 29%). RIM Blackberry’s share (also about 26%) put it within the margin of error of both Apple iOS and Android, making RIM statistically tied with both Apple for first and Android for third.

At the time, Nielsen said this race might still be too close to call. However, in signs of things to come, RIM Blackberry had lost its clear number one position in June 2010 (34%), while Android had gained more than 50% market share from 15% in the same time period.

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