iPhone, BlackBerry Top Mobile OS Ratings
A new study from The Nielsen Company this week found that 29.7 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers are running full operating systems and that the vast majority are using devices powered by either Apple's iOS or RIM's BlackBerry mobile operating system.
While that's good news for both companies right now, the report indicates that BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) will likely have its hands full fending off the growing threat of Android-based smartphones in the near future.
In October, Nielsen reports that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and RIM were essentially tied atop the mobile operating system field with 27 percent of smartphone owners using devices running on each of the two vendor's mobile OSs.
Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) open source Android mobile OS, which has made tremendous strides to the close the gap, checked in at 22 percent while Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Mobile and Nokia's (NYSE: NOK) Symbian operating systems are used by 14 percent and 3.4 percent of users, respectively.
With worldwide smartphone sales expected to surge 55 percent year-over-year through 2012, according to market researcher IDC, all the leading vendors are racing to capture both the smartphone upgrade crowd as well as those consumers making the switch from traditional handsets to smartphones.
To that point, Nielsen's survey found that among current smartphone users looking to upgrade to a new model, 30 percent said they plan to purchase an Apple iPhone while 28 percent of indicated they were leaning toward Android-powered devices.
Only 13 percent said they would buy a BlackBerry OS-powered smartphone and another 6 percent said they would opt for either a Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 smartphone. Another 19 percent said they still weren't sure which model or operating system had piqued their interest.
The data echoes the findings of another report this week by German market researcher GfK Group which concluded that 37 percent of smartphone users in the U.S., Germany, Brazil, China and the UK plan to upgrade their devices in the next year and the majority (56 percent) made it clear that they're still weighing their options.
Nielsen's report found that smartphone owners over 55 years of age were decidedly less certain than younger owner as to which model and mobile operating system they would eventually choose. Just over 12 percent of consumers between 18 and 24 said they were undecided while 27.8 percent of the 55 and older crowd remained noncommittal.
By gender, women were more inclined to go with the iPhone (30.9 percent vs. 22.8 percent favoring Android) while men said they preferred Android-based smartphones (32.6 percent vs. 28.6 favoring the iPhone).