Samsung Phones, BlackBerry OS, Are U.S. Favorites: comScore

Americans use Samsung handsets more than any others, though when it comes to smartphone operating systems, BlackBerry is the top pick, followed by the iPhone and Android devices.

Samsung has only just begun introducing its line of Galaxy S smartphones, but already its devices are being used by more Americans than any other manufacturers,' comScore reported Nov. 3.

Over a three-month period ending in September, comScore found, a total of 234 million Americans, ages 13 years and older, were using mobile devices. Samsung devices accounted for 23.5 percent of that total-up from 22.8 percent over a three-month period ending in June-followed by devices from LG Electronics, with a 21.1 percent share, and Motorola, with 18.4 percent.

Fourth place went to Research In Motion, which showed the second-largest increase between the periods, rising from 8.8 percent to 9.3 percent, and was followed by Nokia, which claimed fifth place with a 7.4 percent share.

When narrowed down to smartphone platforms, however, BlackBerry maker RIM took the lead. Down a bit from its 40.1 percent share during the June quarter, BlackBerry handsets accounted for 37.3 percent of the total 58.7 million smartphones in use during the period. Apple, remaining steady at 24.3 percent, came in second, followed by Google, which claimed 21.4 percent of the market and increased by 6.5 percent-showing the fastest increase in any category.

Microsoft, in fourth place, lost a bit of market share, dropping from 12.8 percent to 10 percent-a stat likely to change in the current quarter, as on Oct. 11 it introduced a long-awaited line of Windows Phone 7 handsets, nine of which will begin shipping in November.

Also losing share was Palm's WebOS, which dropped from 4.7 to 4.2 percent, though this, too, is likely to change in coming quarters, as Hewlett-Packard, which purchased Palm earlier this year, prepares to release new devices on an updated version of WebOS. The first of these is the Palm Pre 2, with WebOS 2.0, which made its debut on SFR, France's largest telecom, though is slated for the United States and Canada in "the coming months," Verizon confirmed.

As for what those 234 million Americans are doing with their devices, the number-one answer-chatting aside-is sending text messages. Texting accounted for 67 percent of mobile usage, up from 65.6 percent the quarter before.

Second up was Web browsing, which, like all other mobile usage categories, increased during the quarter, in this instance to 35.1 percent up from 32.9 percent. Third place went to by downloading apps, which increased from 30.6 percent to 33.1 percent, followed by visits to social networking networking sites and blogs, which rose from 21.4 percent to 23.2 percent.

Gaming accounted for 23.1 percent of usage, up from 22.6 percent, followed by listening to music, which hopped from 14.4 percent to 15.2 percent.

Rising smartphone sales-driven in part by hearty carrier subsidies-are driving the overall handset market, analysts suggest. During the third quarter of 2010, research firm Strategy Analytics announced in an Oct. 30 report, Samsung shipped a company high of 71.4 million units. Strategy Analytics estimated that 327 million handsets shipped globally during the quarter, while another market research firm, IDC, put the figure at 340.5 million units.