Nielsen: Android expands smartphone OS lead in Q3, Apple still top vendor

Google’s lead among smartphone platforms grew wider in the United States last quarter as Research In Motion and Microsoft each lost share to Android. Just-released data from Nielsen for the third quarter shows that Google’s share of the smartphone market in the U.S. grew to 43%, up from 39% in the second quarter. Apple’s iOS stayed flat at 28% while RIM’s BlackBerry OS slid from 20% last quarter to 18% in the third quarter and Microsoft’s mobile platforms combined to make up 7% of the market, down from 9% last quarter. Nokia’s Symbian OS and HP’s webOS now fall into the “Other” category. Read on for more.

Among smartphone vendors, Apple again finds itself atop the list in the U.S. with 28% of the market in terms of installed base. Nielsen did not provide additional data regarding vendor share for the third quarter. Earlier estimates from market research firm Canalys found that HTC took the top spot among smartphone vendors in the U.S. by shipment volume last quarter.

Nielsen also notes that smartphone penetration in growing steadily across various age groups in the U.S. Consumers ages 25-34 are still the most likely to own a smartphone, with penetration having ballooned from 41% in the third quarter last year to 62% last quarter. Smartphone penetration in the 18-24 demographic is now at 54%, and 53% of consumers ages 35-44 own a smartphone.

A total of 43% of cell phone users in the U.S. owned smartphones in the third quarter according to Nielsen.

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