iPhone 4S Helps Apple Catch Up to Android, says Nielsen

Android continues to be the most popular operating system among US smartphone users, according to research from Nielsen – making up 46 percent of all smartphone owners surveyed in Q4, 2011.

However, the autumn launch of the iPhone 4S had an enormous impact on proportion of US smartphone owners who chose to buy Apple. Among recent acquirers – those who said they got a new device within the past three months – 45 per cent of Americans surveyed in December said they chose an iPhone, compared to just 25 per cent in October.

Smartphone ownership in the US continues to rise. As of Q4 2011, 46 percent of US mobile consumers had smartphones, and that figure is growing quickly. In fact, 60 percent of those who said they got a new device within the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.

“These numbers closely mirror what we’ve been seeing in the UK. Our Q3, 2011 report suggests 45 percent of UK mobile consumers had a smartphone, compared to 46 percent in Q4 in the US,” says Nielsen European Telecoms managing director David Gosen. “We expect UK smartphone growth to continue. Mobile operators, device manufacturers and content providers are really focusing on the benefits of smartphones, while the cost of basic smartphones is becoming more affordable to consumers, tempting them to upgrade from feature phones.”