Phones powered by Google's Android operating system are catching up to the iPhone in terms of consumer awareness and desirability.
According to comScore, 17% of consumers who said they were in the market for a smartphone said they were considering purchasing an Android-powered device in the next three months, compared with 20% who said they planned to purchase an iPhone.
And consumer awareness of the Android phones is only growing, thanks in part to Verizon Wireless' heavy promotion of Motorola's new Droid phone. According to comScore, 22% of mobile users had heard of the Android system in August. But by October, that figure had jumped to 37%.
"The mindshare that Android has been able to establish in a relatively short time in market is surprising," Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile at comScore, tells Marketing Daily. "It's a result of the pretty substantial ad spend on the part of Verizon and T-Mobile."
RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, continues to lead the smartphone market. And while the Android share of the market is relatively small -- 3.5% -- that's double what it was a year ago. At the same time, Android usage behavior is similar to those using iPhones.
According to comScore, 94% of iPhone users and 92% of Android users engaged with mobile media -- such as Web browsing -- compared with the 80% average for smartphone users. In fact, the only activity in which iPhone users were significantly more likely to engage in over Android users was email activity (87% versus 63%).
"It's still a relatively smaller user base [than all mobile users], but what we have seen so far is that the usage patterns of Android are most comparable to iPhone," Donovan says. "This indicates that Android is attracting the types of users to want to use this phone like an iPhone."