Android leads U.S. sales but iPhone 4S is closing the gap

It was another banner quarter for smartphones, as the latest Nielsen numbers said that over 60 percent of those who bought a phone within the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone and most of these users chose an Android or iPhone.

Android still led the U.S. market for the latest period but the iPhone 4S did a credible job of closing the gap. That may seem expected but you do have to remember that the iPhone 4S is one device, while the Android figure is based on multiple handsets at multiple price points on multiple carriers. The report found that 44.5 percent of those surveyed in December said they chose an iPhone and that’s a massive jump from 25.1 percent in October.

When we talk about things like market share, it’s important to remember that this is just one metric, even if it is a valuable one. Apple makes its money by selling devices, so the more market share it has, the more money it makes – but Apple also makes a ton of profit off its devices, so it could generate more revenue with a lower market share.

As for Google, it makes money via advertisements, so market share is important to it too but nearly any time a user is on the web on the go is a positive for Google. Its mobile advertising business has already crossed the $1 billion mark and much of that revenue comes from iPhone users.

If you want to see what the fuss is about the iPhone 4S, check out our hands-on video below.

[Via Nielsen]

  • Litt

    I’ve seen this news story on several tech sites, and I think the conclusion that apple is re-surging is a little over blown. No question that the iPhone 4S is a great phone. Better then many Android phones. But the fact that there wasn’t a major Android phone released at the same time. The Nexus S2 came out a few months earlier then the iPhone so that phone had already pasted its “hot sales” point. The Galaxy Nexus came out with only a few weeks left in the year (on only one, carrier. iPhone 4s came out on 3). I think what we are seeing is that Android didn’t put up any competition in the 4th quarter. It think you could see this number change in the next 2 quarters depending on the Android phones released. 

    • c-w-i

      Everybody was waiting for the 4S – that’s why market share in the 4th quarter was higher, every Apple fanboy got himself the new toy. I therefore think that Q4 was just an exception to the rule. Apple will get used to it that market share is declining – and this is just natural. This phone offers just too little for too much money.

      Competition is good, I hope that Microsoft will also pick up some momentum. Only if there is healthy competition we will see improvements. And who knows, maybe, some day, even Apple will have widgets and other customizations for the home screen.

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