Android Owns Half U.S. Smartphone Market

Android-Smartphone-AHalf the smartphones in the U.S. ran on Google’s Android platform through April, according to the latest mobile market data from comScore. Android’s 50.8% market is essentially unchanged from March, but up slightly from 48.6% at the start of the year.

About half of users are both downloading apps and using mobile browsers, up from less than 40% in the year-earlier period. More than a third (36%) are going to social networking sites or blogs, a third play games, and almost 26% listen to music on their devices.

Apple’s iOS claimed almost a third (31.4%) of the market as of April, trailed by Research in Motion’s BlackBerry (11.6%), Microsoft’s Windows Mobile/Windows Phone (4%) and Symbian (1.3%). RIM’s share is down from 12.3% in March and 15.2% in January, underscoring its losing battle to maintain its customer base against Google and Apple.

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Microsoft and Symbian also continue to see shrinking smartphone market share. More than 107 million Americans overall owned smartphones in the three months ending April, up 6% from January. That translates into smartphone penetration of about 46%.

Among mobile phone manufacturers, Samsung remained comfortably at No. 1, with 25.9% share, followed by LG (19.2%), Apple (14.4%), Motorola (12.5%), and HTC (6%). Samsung overtook Nokia to become the world’s largest phone maker in the first quarter, with global market share of 20.7%, according to Gartner.

Text messaging remains the most popular non-voice mobile activity, with some 74% of mobile users texting -- about the same as in January, and up from about 70% a year ago. In the U.S., carriers’ flat-fee SMS packages appear to be keeping alternative messaging services, like Facebook and Apple, from wiping out their cash cow.

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