Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) command 71 percent of smartphone market share in the United States, with Android accounting for 43 percent share and iOS nabbing 28 percent through the third quarter.
HTC had 15 percent of Android phone share, followed by Motorola and Samsung at over 10 percent apiece, according to new data from Nielsen. Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) commanded 17.8 percent, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Mobile/Phone 7 had only 7.3 percent in Q3.
RIM is having trouble finding a lot of traction for its new BlackBerry 9900 Bold handset, which uses BlackBerry OS 7. Microsoft, too, is struggling to make its mark in mobile with its Mango update.
While RIM is banking on a significant shift to phones based on its QNX tablet operating system in 2012, Microsoft is looking to its Windows Phone 7-based Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia-branded phones to make their mark among consumers.
Making a dent in the market shares of the mighty brands Apple and Google have built in smartphones won't be easy, and not just because of the handset volume for Android and iOS. Indeed, Nielsen also discovered that 83 percent of applications downloads were conduct on an iPhone or Android handset.
This shouldn't come as a surprise given the collective footprints of both Google and Apple's app stores. Apple's App Store offers some 400,000 apps, while Google's Android Market has over 300,000 apps to choose from.
Smartphone use continues to grow, according to Nielsen. While 44 percent of all U.S. mobile phone owners use smartphones - up from 37 percent in May -- 56 percent of consumers who bought a handset in the last three months picked up a smartphone.
Clearly, the smartphone, helped by low-cost Android models and the new free and low-cost iPhones Apple unveiled in October, is a device that is still on many users' minds heading into the future.