Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android U.S. smartphone market share of 40 percent is equivalent to the percentage of mobile consumers over 18 who use smartphones in this country, according to Nielsen's July statistics.
The researcher said Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS came in at No. 2 with 28 percent. Looking forward, one-third of U.S. consumers polled who said they were considering acquiring a smartphone in the next year said they wanted an iPhone. Another third said they would get an Android handset.
Of those prospective consumers who Nielsen classifies as "innovators," or early adopters, 40 percent said they would pick Android, compared to 32 percent for iOS. Some 30 percent of respondents said they weren't sure what they wanted, while 32 percent were leaning toward Android and 23 percent mulling an iPhone.
"Among likely smartphone upgraders, it is the "late adopters" who are most likely to say they are "not sure" which operating system they'd like in their next smartphone," explained Don Kellogg, director of telecom research and insights for Nielsen. "In politics as in smartphones, these 'undecided' will be the ones device makers will be hoping to win over."
It will be interesting to watch how the "innovators" and "late adopters" vote with their wallets for new hardware and service contracts this fall. Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy S II handsets in the U.S., which go on sale later this month from AT&T (NYSE:T), T-Mobile and Sprint (NYSE:S).
That super launch will give way to the iPhone 5, which could arrive on Sprint for the first time, joining AT&T and T-Mobile this October.
With these important devices commanding the bulk of the hype for Android and iOS, it's easy to forget about the other players.
It's also because their dwindling market shares help make them forgettable. Research in Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry share fell from 20 percent to 19 percent for July, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 dropped 1 point to 8 percent of the market.
In another telling stat, smartphones are rapidly catching up to feature phones, which make up 60 percent of all mobile phones owned by U.S. citizens, according to Nielsen.
Nielsen's stats come two days after comScore pegged Android at 41.8 percent and iOS at 27 percent.