Samsung phones were used by more Americans than any other mobile brand during the three months ending in January, comScore reported March 6.
The firm added that while 234 million Americans used mobile devices, 101.3 million are now pocketing smartphonesa figure that jumped 13 percent from the three months ending in October 2011. comScore's findings were based on surveys of 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers age 13 and older.
In January, IHS iSuppli reported that the introduction of the iPhone 4S, which customers had been waiting for, made Apple the top-shipping smartphone maker during the fourth quarter of 2011, though Samsung was the top seller for the yearshipping 95 million smartphones overall to Apple's 93 million.
While Apple's focus is exclusively on the smartphone market, Samsung's success seems to come from also the lower-end smartphones and feature phones that round out its portfolio. With 234 million Americans using mobile devices, and 101 million-plus with smartphones, that leaves nearly 133 million still relying on feature phonesdespite carriers' best efforts.
Feature phone dominance is indeed backed up by comScore's findings, with top-smartphone-shipper Apple ranking behind Samsung in fourth, beating out only BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.
During the last three months, 25.4 percent of Americans were using Samsung handsets, holding steady from October's 25.5 percent. LG devices were used by nearly 20 percent of mobile subscribers, also more or less holding steady. Motorola, in third place, dipped only slightly, from 13.2 percent to 13.6 percent.
Apple's mobile subscriber market share posted the most dramatic change, though, as consumers likely jumped on the new 4S or reduced iPhone 4 deals. Americans with iPhones comprised nearly 13 percent of all mobile subscribers, up from nearly 11 percent in October.
Given that Samsung, LG and Motorola all offer Android handsets, it's unsurprising that the Google platform again led in market share, rising from 46.3 percent in October to 48.6 percent ending in January. Apple's share rose from 28.1 to 29.5 percent, and behind it, RIM dipped to 15.2 percent from 17.2 percent and Microsoft from 5.4 to 4.4 percent.
Text messaging is still the most popular function, now used by nearly 75 percent of American mobile subscribers, up from nearly 72 percent. But it was app downloading that showed the most significant change of any content use, climbing from use by nearly 44 percent of subscribers to nearly 49 percent. Just behind was using the browser, which now 48.5 percent of users are doing, up from 44 percent.
Behind browsing, using social networking sites, or globs, rose 3.4 points to 35.7 percent of subscribers, and next up was game playing, increasing 2.6 pointsthe most subtle rise of the top six categoriesto 31.8 percent.
Finally, during the last three months, 24.5 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers also used their phones to listen to music, an increase of 3.3 percent.