Android Continues To Hold Half the U.S. Smartphone Market

Android continues to be the leading mobile OS with more than half of the U.S. smartphone market, according to the latest data from metrics firm comScore.

For the first quarter of 2012, Android-based phones have jumped to 51 percent overall ownership, up from 47.3 percent previously (it breached the 50 percent mark in March). While comScore reports that this is the first quarter Android's marketshare has been over 50 percent, competitor Gartner reported Google's mobile OS had reached this milestone in November of last year.

According to comScore, Apple's iPhone stayed in second place with 30.7 percent of the market, up a bit more than one percentage point, while Research In Motion's (RIM) Blackberry continued to decline even as it held onto third place at 12.3 percent. Microsoft, in fourth place at 3.9 percent, dropped a bit and Symbian remained on life support at 1.4 percent.

The Symbian and Microsoft numbers could be somewhat misleading, however. Symbian, developed and once owned by Nokia, was abandoned by the company in 2011, as it switched over fully to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system. Microsoft and Nokia have thrown their combined weight behind Nokia's flagship phone, the recently-released Lumia 900. The partnership represents both companies' best effort to enter the field in what has been a two-horse race for several years.

Technology Web site The Verge reported that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said Lumia sales have "exceeded expectations" so far.

The smartphone market itself continues a steady growth curve, according to comScore. In the quarter just ended, there were 106 million smartphones in use, an increase of 9 percent.

ComScore also provided a window into how consumers are using their smartphones. By far the top activity remained texting, in which 74.3 percent of respondents engaged. Users are also continuing to download and use apps (50 percent); surf the Web (49 percent); use social networking (36 percent); play games (32 percent) and listen to music (25 percent).

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.