Thursday, February 02, 2012

Android nears half of U.S. market share as smartphone use hits 40 percent: comScore

comScore's latest U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share numbers for Q4 2011 are in, and the newest report from the market research firm shows Android closing in on 50 percent market share, while slightly increasing its lead over iOS.

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Android is up 2.5 percentage points from September, to 47.3 percent market share, while Apple, continuing in second position, grew 2.2 percentage points to snag 29.6 percent of smartphone market share. Everyone else saw drops, with RIM at 16 percent share dropping 2.9 percent, followed by Microsoft at 4.7 percent, dropping 0.9 percent, and Symbian at 1.4 percent dropping 0.4 percent.

It means Android grew its lead over iOS very slightly, but everyone else aside from the two most popular smartphone platforms was a loser.

In terms of overall cell phone (both smart- and non-smartphones) manufacturer market share, Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.3 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (unchanged from September), followed by LG with 20 percent share (a slight drop of 0.6 percent) and Motorola with 13.3 percent share (a drop of half a percent). Apple was the sole OEM in the top five that increased its market share, rising 2.2 percent to 12.4 percent. RIM dropped again, from 7.1 to 6.7 percent.

Smartphone use continues to climb. 97.9 million people in the U.S. used smartphones during the three months ending in December (up from 91.4 million people in the previous comScore ranking).

That number represents 40 percent of all mobile subscribers.

In terms of mobile phone use, comScore's survey showed that 74.3 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers text messaged in December, up 3.2 percentage points. 47.6 percent of mobile subscribers downloaded applications, up 5.1 percent. 47.5 percent of subscribers used Web browsers on their devices, up 4.6 percent.

31.4 percent gamed on their devices, up 2.6 percent, and 23.8 percent listened to music on their mobile phones, up 2.9 percent.

In a positive note for those waiting for Facebook to go public (as opposed to its S-1 filing on Wednesday), 35.3 percent of mobile subscribers accessing social networking sites or blogs during the period, up 3.8 percent.

It was a pretty "positive" comScore result, with the losers being LG, Motorola, Microsoft, RIM, and Symbian, and with Android and Apple continuing to rise.

A recent Nielsen report showed that iPhone sales skyrocketed in Q4 2011, meaning that although market share continued to go the way of Android, that might change. Much of that recent sales rise was driven by the iPhone 4S; it remains to be seen if the recent Android introductions (Galaxy Nexus, RAZR, RAZR MAXX and the upcoming Droid 4) will reverse that trend.

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