Nielsen recently published some study data comparing smartphone operating system and manufacturer market share recently, showing RIM and Apple battling for second place with 27% each, while the combined efforts of HTC, Samsung, Motorola and LG have pushed Android to 29%. It was only two months ago that iOS had a pretty distinctive lead, and BlackBerry was leading Android by a sliver. Among the underdogs, Windows Phone has taken the lead with 10%, followed by webOS with 4%, and finally Symbian with 2%.
The study also broke down the age brackets for each platform, though the data is pretty consistent across the board. The only noticeable trends are that young folks prefer Android, while older smartphone owners lean towards webOS and Symbian.
We’ve seen research data that puts Android second only to Symbian in the worldwide market, when as recently as September, iOS claimed half of the U.S. smartphone market share. To be fair, in the light of this Nielsen study, the U.S. smartphone market looks like a three-way cage match between a team of midgets and two giants; the real indicator of success will be if any given manufacturer can sell more Android phones alone than Apple or RIM, which seems to me unlikely in the near future.
P.S.: Since when did HTC start making webOS products?