Android Shipped on 43% of U.S. Smartphones: Nielsen

Nielsen said Google's Android platform ran on 43 percent of smartphone shipments from July 2010 to December 2010; Apple iOS grabbed 26 percent, while RIM's BlackBerry took 20 percent.

Google's Android operating system continued to be the hit of the U.S. smartphone world, accounting for 43 percent of smartphone shipments from July 2010 to December 2010.

Nielsen said Feb. 1 that Apple iOS was on 26 percent of smartphones shipped over the last six months, whole Research in Motion's Blackberry tallied 20 percent of platform shipments.

However, while Android has been the hot handheld platform-after a strong holiday season for Samsung Galaxy S and Motorola Droid sales-the OS is locked in a statistical tie with iOS and Blackberry: all account for 27 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.

Technically, Nielsen is showing a slight edge for iOS at 28 percent share, but the research calls this a tie, allowing for fluctuations in market numbers and statistical error.

Nielsen's numbers came one day after Canalys published its fourth quarter smartphone shipments across North America, Asia Pacific, EMEA and Latin America, finding that Android became the world's leading smartphone platform.

The OS accounted for 33.3 million of the 101.2 million smartphones shipped worldwide in Q4, compared with 31 million by Nokia, which is struggling to keep pace with Google and Apple in the competitive market worldwide.

Apple sold 16.2 million iPhones, while RIM--which finds its smartphone leadership position squeezed in the U.S. market by the iPhone and Android handsets--followed Apple with 14.6 million units shipped.

Adding more fuel to the Android fire, eMarketer analyst Noah Elkin said Jan. 27 that Android will be the main OS for 31 percent of all smartphone users by 2012, with iOS following close behind at a 30 percent market share.

"With a growing roster of manufacturer and carrier partners in every major market and market segment, scale for Android is coming quickly in terms of device, market share, apps and ad revenues," Elkin said.

Well, yes, but don't discount the loyalty of Apple's iPhone fans. Many people who try the iPhone won't discard the device for a Droid. Conversely, several eWEEK readers have claimed that they would give up their Droid for a Verizon Wireless iPhone.

These folks will get their wish beginning Feb. 10.