Correction: iPhone Has 2X Android's Share in US

Based on a third party report of unreleased Nielsen mobile marketshare data this morning, I incorrectly described what the data reported. So did almost everybody else.

The original GigaOM discussion of the Nielsen data is technically correct -- it refers to sales rather than overall market share -- but it failed to provide context and all the relevant data. I was also swept up in what seemed like a dramatic 10 point gain in Android's market share. 

The headline asserted that Android had surpassed the iPhone in the US. But that's not what the data actually show it turns out. The accurate statement is that in the last six months Nielsen says that Android handsets have taken a greater share of all smartphones sold in the US than the iPhone. However the iPhone still has considerably more share in the US market than Android.

Nielsen later in the day posted with more context. The first chart below is reflective of the overall market: Android has 13%, while the iPhone has 28% share -- more than double. 

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/mobile-OS-share-q2-2010.png

The chart below is the one that made its appearance this morning and caused the problem. It focuses not on the entire market but only on "recent acquirers." The chart is somewhat misleading because in the absence of the one above it appears to be a snapshot of the overall distribution of handset marketshare (notwithstanding the slide title). 

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/mobile-OS-share-recent-2010.png

I hadn't seen the first chart until this evening.

What we take away from this is what we already know: Apple has saturated its single carrier market (AT&T), while Android, with multiple handsets and carriers, is gaining momentum. Again, the iPhone's market share is more than double Android's but more recently Android handsets appear to be outselling the iPhone. 

The most important datapoint released by Nielsen however is that smartphones now represent 25% of the total US handset market. That's a psychologically significant milestone. The next one is 50%, which Nielsen projects will happen in Q2 next year. I'm skeptical it will be quite that soon but we're definitely on our way. 

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/smartphone-growth-q2-2010.png