Nielsen: Android the Big Winner. But, iPhone Shows Surprising Strength with a Single U.S. Carrier

The Nielsen Company published an interesting pair of charts this week.

Android Most Popular Operating System in U.S. Among Recent Smartphone Buyers

The takeaway provided by both Nielsen and most people who commented on the data was that Android gained significant traction since the beginning of the calendar year. Its market share among recent smartphone buyers rose from 14% to 32% while its share among all smartphone users rose from 8% to 19%. What was not mentioned is the overall market impact Android has had. RIM (BlackBerry) and Apple (iPhone) lost a combined 15% share of recent smartphone buyers. However, Google Android’s gain was 18% and the total recent acquirer share for all three platforms rose from 80% to 83%. This means that Android not only took away share from the BlackBerry and iPhone but also other mobile platforms like Windows Mobile and Symbian S60.

Android’s impact on BlackBerry may actually be more severe than on the iPhone. Both Android and BlackBerry phones are available on multiple carriers in the U.S. It is actually surprising the iPhone captured such a healthy recent purchase marketshare with only a single carrier. This supports the notion that Apple needs to add a second U.S. carrier soon if it wants to maintain and build its marketshare among new smartphone purchasers.

The second chart shows mobile platform share among all smartphone owners (not just recent buyers). The BlackBerry is still in the lead with 31% (a drop from 36% at the beginning of the year) while the iPhone dropped a single percent (29% to 28%) in the same time period. Android, meanwhile, skyrocketed from an 8% share to 19%. The BlackBerry and iPhone lost a combined marketshare of 6% while Android gained 11%. The combined market share by the big three rose from 73% to 78%. The 5% difference, again, came from losses by the smaller platforms in the U.S. like Windows Mobile and Symbian S60.