Android Closing On BlackBerry As Verizon iPhone Launch Approaches

The latest mobile data from comScore are out, showing Android handsets continuing to outpace others in the market. These new figures obviously pre-date the release of the Verizon iPhone, which is coming this weekend.

More interesting will be seeing what these figures look like in March. Reportedly Apple has prepared two million CDMA iPhones for Verizon’s launch; and some financial analysts estimate as many as three million iPhones will be sold by Verizon by the end of Q1. The carrier itself has told analysts that it could sell as many as 11 million iPhones this year.

Overall comScore says 63.2 million people own smartphones in the US. That translates to a penetration level of 27 percent.

In November of last year, Nielsen said that 28 percent of all US mobile subscribers had smartphones. My sense is that Nielsen would put that figure just over 30 percent today. Nielsen previously estimated that the US would see 50 percent smartphone ownership by the end of 2011. That will likely now come by Q2 or Q3 of 2012. More than 50 percent of new handsets being sold at the major carriers are smartphones.

For comparison purposes, below are the previous set of numbers put out by comScore on smartphone OS ownership.

What the new numbers in the first chart above indicate is that Windows Phones aren’t selling. Microsoft previously said that it had “shipped” more than two million smartphones (licenses to OEMs). But consumers don’t seem to be buying them.

There are rumors that Nokia and Microsoft may enter into a deeper relationship in which Nokia might start offering some Windows Phones itself. That could give a boost to the Microsoft OS. But it remains a rumor.

Despite having almost no presence in the US market Nokia is the global handset leader — though it continues to lose share quarter over quarter. In the developing world inexpensive Android handsets represent a long-term threat to Nokia’s continuing market leadership.

Below are comScore’s figures showing activity on mobile handsets. These data argue that just over 85 million people used a mobile browser to access the internet in December. However comScore data don’t reflect app usage. Nielsen data currently show the mobile internet reaching almost 92 million people in the US.

Before the first half of this year is over we’ll see mobile internet usage cross 100 million people in the US. By comparison the fixed internet has just over 200 million users in the US.

Among the four major US carriers there are roughly 272 million subscribers. So the addressable market in mobile is ultimately quite a bit larger than the PC internet.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Features: Analysis | Google: Mobile | Stats: comScore

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • NOT RahmEmanuel

    Watching the last few months’ numbers I’m always struck by two things. First, iPhone sales have flattened despite the rapidly growing market for smart phones. That’s remarkable. Back 12 months ago Would anybody have even thought it possible? Also, Android’s monthly growth is always just about identical to the combined drop in share for MS, RIM, and Palm. Any difference is probably right at the MoE for this data.

    The whole thing is so weird it’s beautiful. You’d think it was one of those textbook examples from Econ101 that everybody knows could never happen in the real world.

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