Nielsen: More subscribers gravitate to smart phones

As of the end of Q3 2010, approximately 28 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers now use smart phones, according to the Nielsen Company’s “Global Smartphone Report.” Nielsen’s research noted that the rapid adoption of smart phones in recent months is due in part to the growth of Android-based phones on the market. In Q3, 41 percent of cell phone purchasers bought a smart phone, compared with 35 percent in Q2. (The NPD Group reported a similar statistic; their data revealed that devices running Google's Android OS accounted for 44 percent of all smart phones sold in the United States during Q3 2010.)

The Nielsen report showed that smart phone users are more ethnically diverse than their feature phone counterparts. One in five, or 20 percent, of smart phone owners are Latino. Smart phone users also skew young; Apple has the most smart phone users under 44, whereas 50 percent of Android users are 35 or younger.

The percentage of smart phone penetration in the United States is similar to that in the UK but less than in Spain (37 percent) or Italy (33 percent). As could be expected, Symbian is the most popular smart phone OS in Europe. In the United States, the Apple iOS (28 percent) has nearly caught up with the RIM Blackberry OS (30 percent), and Google’s Android has leapt to 19 percent.