Yes, boys and girls, it has finally happened! For the first time in history, most U.S. mobile subscribers now own a smartphone. At least that’s what we can make of Nielsen’s latest report, which says that, in March 2012, 50.4% of all American mobile users had a smartphone in their possession. That leaves a 49.6% share for basic phones (or dumbphones, as we sometimes call them), which is not half bad, if you think about how wildly popular Android and iOS devices are.
Android is still the dominating force in the United States, with a total of 48.5% of all smartphones running Google’s OS. Apple’s iOS is second, with a 32% market share, while RIM, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone are miles away. According to Nielsen, 11.6% of all US smartphones are BlackBerries, while Windows Mobile, even though it was discontinued two years ago, still has a 2.4% lead over its successor, Windows Phone (4.1% over 1.7%).
As far as phone manufacturers go, Apple leads in the United States, but Nielsen has failed to offer any data on the iPhone’s competitors. We suspect Samsung to be Apple’s most dangerous opponent, but there’s no way to know how far behind was Sammy in March.
While it fails to provide a few pieces of information that we would’ve loved to discuss, Nielsen’s research does come up with some intriguing details about today’s U.S. mobile market. For example, it seems that 50.9% of all female mobile subscribers owned smartphones in March, while only 50.1% of male subscribers carried a smart gadget of some kind. That’s very interesting, because I, for one, have always thought that men are more interested in technology than women (no offense, ladies!).
On a different (and unsurprising) note, it seems that more than two out of three young people (age 25 to 34) owned at least one smartphone in March. Also, if you were interested to know how different ethnic groups fare, Asian Americans are the most tech-savvy these days (67.3% own a smartphone). Hispanics and African-Americans are themselves very passionate about the latest technology – almost three in five Hispanic mobile subscribers own a smartphone, while the majority of African-Americans (54.4%, to be more exact) have also given up basic phones. In comparison, only 44.7% of white mobile subscribers owned a smartphone in March, according to the Nielsen study. The research doesn’t provide any possible explanation for this disparity, and, to be honest, I can’t explain it either.
The most important part of Nielsen’s report, however, does not involve whites, blacks, and Asians, but the U.S. mobile market as a whole. The market is clearly advancing, with more and more people interested in the latest technology. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?