Some 35 percent of U.S. adults now own smartphones, with 35 percent of smartphone owners using an Android phone, compared with 24 percent of users claiming to use either Apple's iPhones or Research in Motion's Blackberry handsets.
The metrics-culled by Pew Research from a poll of 2,277 adults and conducted April 26 to May 22a-represent the first time the Web culture-research firm has performed a measurement of smartphone ownership.
Pew's findings, led by analyst Aaron Smith, dovetail with metrics from IDC, ComScore, Nielsen Gartner and other researchers.
ComScore, for example, said Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform increased from 33 percent to 38.1 percent, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit 26.6 percent. RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) fell to 24.7 percent. Nielsen had Android at 38 percent, too.
Another Pew finding that corresponds to earlier anecdotes is that Android phones are particularly popular among young adults and African-Americans. Conversely, iPhone and Blackberry adopters "skew towards those with relatively high levels of income and education."
iPhones and Blackberries are classified as premium smartphones, while Android devices can be purchased for as low as $20 in China and $99 or less in the U.S., with special promotions from Amazon and Verizon Wireless aiming to offload Android handsets for a penny to make room for new devices.
Ultimately, smartphone adoption is highest among the affluent and well-educated, the young, and non-whites. Some 59 percent of adults living in a household earning income of $75,000 or more are smartphone owners, while 48 percent of those with a college degree own smartphones.
Roughly 58 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 now own a smartphone, with 49 percent of those aged 18 to 24 and 44 percent of those ages 35 to 44 having one. Finally, 44 percent of blacks and Latinos surveyed are smartphone users.
Also, while PCs and laptops continue to be the main mode for U.S. users to access the Web, one quarter of the smartphone-owning population claimed mobile phones are a main source of their Web access. Some 87 percent of smartphone owners access the Web or e-mail on their handheld.
Web access through smartphones is higher outside the U.S., where users in some countries cannot justify spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on computers when they can purchase a smartphone with a capable Web browser for less than $100.