Android attracting most new customers but Apple still ahead

Despite an overwhelming number of consumers purchasing Android-powered smartphones during the last six months, Apple's iOS is still the leading smartphone operating system (OS) in the US - but only by a small margin.

A new report released by market analyst Nielsen on January 3 puts Apple iOS slightly ahead of its competitors with 28.6 percent of the market.

RIM's Blackberry OS is (just) holding on to second place with 26.1 percent while Android is quickly gaining on its first and second place rivals and now commands 25.8 percent of the smartphone market.

Apple, Android and RIM are the clear leaders in the smartphone game says Nielsen but three all are statistically tied for first place as Apple's lead over Android is within Nielsen's margin of error.

That may change within the future if Nielsen's figures on new smartphone purchases are to be believed.

Google's Android platform appears to be experiencing rapid growth in the US, thanks largely to the range of new Android-powered devices appearing on the market.

In November 2010 more than 40 percent of recent smartphone acquirers purchased a handset running on Android.

Only 19.2 percent of those who purchased a smartphone in the last six months chose a device made by RIM, a large drop from Nielsen's June 2010 figures where 35 percent of handsets sold were Blackberrys.

The rate of iOS devices purchased over the last six months remained fairly consistent. In November, 2010 it was just below 27 percent.

One thing remains clear in the war for smartphone supremacy, more and more consumers are choosing to purchase a smartphone as their next mobile phone. In November, 45 percent of consumers buying a new phone purchased a smartphone instead of a feature phone.

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