Android Wins Among Recent Smartphone Buyers

The race among smartphone operating system vendors looks either like a close one, or one with a clear winner, according to a leading analytics company.

In November, for example, among U.S. users who had bought a smartphone in the previous six months, Android was well ahead of competitors.

However, the picture appears quite different when all U.S. smartphone users are considered.

In July, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android seemed stuck in the pack with 28 percent share of users who'd bought a smartphone in the preceding six months, according to the latest report from tracking firm The Nielsen Company.

At the time, Apple's (NASDAQ: APPL) IOS came in at 26.2 percent, and RIM's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry with 25.3 percent.

Now, that's changed.

In November, new smartphone users favored Android with a user share of 40.8 percent, while IOS' share remained virtually flat from July, at 26.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the BlackBerry operating system fared the worst, with a steady decline to 19.2 percent in the new survey.

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, which only began shipping in early November, was not ranked.

However, in comparison with all current U.S. smartphone users instead of just new users, the view is somewhat different. For instance, in July, BlackBerry was clearly ahead with 31.6 percent share, and IOS had 27.3 percent. At the time, Android only had 15.8 percent.

By November, though, Apple was on top with 28.6 percent, while BlackBerry and Android were in a dead heat for second place, with 26.1 percent and 25.8 percent, respectively.

This week could signal another shift in the prevailing winds, however, with a slew of vendors announcing or shipping new smartphones at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 in Las Vegas.

For one, Microsoft, whose hardware and carrier partners began shipping Windows Phone 7 devices in the U.S. on October 8, plans to show off its own cornucopia of smartphones meant to ship in coming months.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


Google, Android, Microsoft, Apple, IOS