Android Smartphones, iPhones Popular for Users Under 44: Nielsen

Google retained its 43 percent U.S. smartphone operating system market share for the third quarter just as Apple kept its 28 percent plot. The age demographics point to smartphones for 20-something to middle-aged adults, Nielsen said.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system maintained its 43 percent smartphone market share through October, followed by Apple's iPhone at 28 percent, according to research released Nov. 3 by Nielsen.

The researcher, which had Android and iOS at the same numbers through August, said smartphones continue to be hot items. Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform stands at 18 percent, while Microsoft Windows Mobile OS commands only 7 percent share.

While this is certainly no news flash -- every research firm from IDC to comScore also notes the monthly growth in smartphone sales -- Nielsen looked at some age demographics for its latest report. Of the 43 percent of all U.S. mobile phone users that own a smartphone, nearly 54 percent are aged 18 to 24 and 35 to 44.

What about the in-between bracket? Smartphone penetration is higher, as 62 percent of phone owners aged 25- to 24-year-old age bracket have smartphones.

"This is a wake-up call for potential advertisers waiting for a tipping point for mobile media or for smartphones to reach the majority," Don Kellogg, director of telecom research and insights at Nielsen, told the New York Times. "We're already there with certain segments - 62 percent of those ages 25 to 34 already have smartphones. That's critical mass."

Conversely, only 40 percent of users aged 12 to 17 years old or 45 to 54 years old have smartphones. Teenagers likely can't afford smartphones and parents aren't likely to buy them for them. Perhaps it's time for AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless, Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile to provide more reasonably priced family data plans?

Circling back to the iPhone-Android angle, it will be interesting to see any market share changes Nielsen and its research peers show through the November and December holiday season.

Apple has its new iPhone 4S on the market from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, while Verizon is selling the Android-based Motorola Droid Razr and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile also have new Android handsets, lead by the Samsung Galaxy S II line, which has sold over 10 million units worldwide.