Mobile Leader: Apple's iOS Tops Android Reach

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Android has taken the mobile world by storm over the last year, powering its way to become the top smartphone platform globally in 2011. By next year, Gartner expects the Google mobile operating system will command nearly half the smartphone market. In the U.S., Android eclipsed the iPhone late last year in market share and will continue to pull away.

But new data from comScore today indicates that when comparing Android to Apple's iOS platform across all mobile phones, tablets and other connected devices, the latter still has the upper hand. For the three months ending in February, iOS reached 37.8 million people -- or 16.2% of U.S. mobile users across the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Android reached 23.7 million, or 10.2% of mobile users, across all Android phones and tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

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The difference underscores Apple's dominance in the emerging tablet market, where the iPad claims an estimated 84% of sales worldwide. While that share will erode in the coming years amid growing competition, a recent Gartner forecast predicted Apple will still lead the category through 2015. But Android will close the gap by then, with 39% share to Apple's 47%.

"These data clearly illustrate the Apple ecosystem extends far beyond the iPhone," said Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile at comScore. "Though it's frequently assumed that the Apple user base is composed of dedicated Apple 'fanboys,' there's not a tremendous amount of overlapping mobile device access among these users."

Among the nearly 38 million consumers with access to the Apple iOS, only 4 million (10.5%) connected to the platform through more than one device.

The findings also showed that iPad ownership extends well beyond Apple loyalists. For example, while the iPad draws a large chunk (27.3%) of its customers from among existing Apple users, BlackBerry owners make up 17.5% of iPad users. Samsung, LG, Motorola and Nokia smartphone owners collectively account for another 39%. Furthermore, 14.2% of iPad users own Android phones.

When it comes to demographics, people ages 25 to 34 made up the largest share (27%) of iPad owners. Those ages 35 to 44 accounted for 20.3% of users, 45- to-50-year-olds made up 16.4%, and 18- to-24-year-olds accounted for 15.2%. The comScore report noted that this age-related breakdown mirrors that of the overall smartphone user base, "indicating that the advanced mobile capabilities rather than the device itself might be primary driver behind this age profile."

Donovan suggested the new device-related research overall could help guide developers as they consider the market potential in creating apps for different mobile platforms.

 

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