Android Market Share Growth Accelerating, Nielsen Finds

While Apple and Google seem to be splitting the smartphone market when it comes to market share overall, Android is beginning to open up a considerable lead when it comes to recent smartphone adopters.

According to data released by Nielsen on Tuesday, half of consumers who recently purchased a smartphone purchased an Android phone. This is twice the "recent acquirer" market share of Apple's iOS, which made up 25 percent. The next-closest competitor was RIM, whose Blackberry devices pulled a 15 percent share.

Android surges, RIM declines

This is a huge change from the last publicly available data from October of last year. At that time, iOS was king with a 28 percent share, followed by RIM with around 27 percent. At that time, Android had just under a 23 percent market share, according to Nielsen's data.

The results certainly could give validation to the analysts out there who forecasted dramatic growth for Google's mobile OS. Of course, some analysts have even gone as far as to say Windows Phone could make a run on Apple, a prediction that has been met with a good deal of skepticism from many tech pundits.

What we can take from Nielsen's latest study is this: Apple is pretty much treading water, appealing to its core base but struggling to expand beyond that. RIM has some serious issues, and it appears Android is its biggest one. And Android? Whatever it's doing, it shouldn't stop. The growth in market share is quite impressive.

Not all is bad for Apple and iOS

Apple fans shouldn't get too worked up about these results though: it still appears that the company does quite well when prospective smartphone buyers are asked which phone they want most. Thirty-one percent of consumers planning to get a smartphone in the next year plan on an Android device, versus 30 percent for the iPhone.

The numbers also don't really include the full effect of the iPhone on Verizon, which no doubt will at least give Apple a small bump in market share numbers. Another interesting fact? One in five prospective buyers isn't sure what to buy, meaning there is opportunity for Apple to gain additional traction.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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