Apple 2.0

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Nielsen: Recent U.S. iPhone sales nearly matched Android's

March 29, 2012: 10:00 AM ET

Between December and February, Android captured 48% and iOS 43% of the U.S. market

Source: Nielsen

The thrust of the Nielsen report issued Thursday morning is that nearly half (49.7%) of U.S mobile phone owners now carry smartphones.

But what interests me, as usual, is how that market is being divvied up among Google (GOOG) Android phones, Apple's (AAPL) iPhones, Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerries and the diminishing Others.

The chart at right tells the story. Android still holds the 48% it captured in 2011, but among Americans who bought smartphones in December, January and February, Apple's share grew sharply.

Nielsen summarized its findings as follows: (I quote)

  • Smartphone penetration has increased significantly over the last year, from only 36% a year earlier in February 2011
  • Android leads the smartphone market with 48% of smartphone owners, and Apple has a 32% share of US smartphones
  • Of those who recently acquired a smartphone, 48% chose an Android handset and 43% bought an iPhone

Below: Nielsen's chart of tracking the rise of the smartphone.

Source: Nielsen
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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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