Research firm Nielsen has released some data that is revelatory about the market share of smartphones in the US, and how these users are using their devices. First, Nielsen reports that Android phones own 36% of smartphone market share, compared to 28% for iPhone, and 23% for BlackBerry devices. Interestingly, HP/Palm’s WebOS and Windows Phone 7 are barely drops in the bucket of the smartphone market, with only 2% and 1% respectively; the original flavors of Windows Mobile commands 9% of the smartphone market still.
What Android and iPhone users do have in common is similar data-intensive usage: 79% of iPhone users have have downloaded apps in the past 30 days; 74% of Android users have done the same. 46% of iPhone owners streamed music online in the past 30 days; 43% of Android users have done the same. Finally, 37% of iPhone users have watched video or mobile TV in the past 30 days; 35% of Android users have done that as well.
While the usage of those various data services are all slightly lower on Android, what is interesting is that Android users outclass all other smartphone operating systems in terms of data usage – Android users use an average of 582 MB/month, and iPhone users use 492 MB/month. While this data includes the iPhone, it is unknown if it includes the iPad 3G as well. So, while Android is not being used as much for specific activities, Android users are using their phones more than iPhone users.
So, it appears as if any struggles with app sales in the Android Market are not due to Android users just not using their phone, because they are doing so in ways that are very comparable to iPhone users, and are using more data traffic than iPhone users. Android users do exist and are out there using their phones; the question is just how will app makers and service providers reach Android users?