Nielsen: Smartphones Now 38%, Demand Surging

Nielsen has released data that shows smartphones now at 38% of all US mobile handsets. Further it says that among new buyers 55% of purchases are smartphones, up from 34% a year ago.

We're going to hit the 50% smartphone-handset threshold either in Q4 or Q1 next year. Below is a chart showing the breakdown of smartphones to feature phones, as well as the relative share of smartphone operating systems according to Nielsen. 

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/mobile-OS-share2.png

Nielsen added that while Android leads all other smartphone platforms with a 38% share, "it is the Apple iPhone that has shown the most growth in recent months." Indeed, there have been a number of stories recently, based on financial analyst reports, that Android momentum may have "peaked." I would argue that's probably not true. But once the iPhone becomes available on T-Mobile and Sprint (probably this fall) we'll see more iPhone gains. 

Android handsets are inexpensive in some cases and in others very powerful but they continue to lack the overall polish and usability of the iPhone. I say this as a semi-loyal Android user for the past year.

The perpetual Android vs. iPhone debate is in a way beside the point. For the foreseeable future, these are the dominant OSs in the market. The real question is who will be number three?