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Almost half of US mobiles now are smartphones

Nielsen

Two years ago, 18 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smartphone; now 44 percent do, according to new research from Nielsen. And Apple continues to be the top smartphone manufacturer in the U.S., with 28.6 percent of the smartphone market, while Android is the most favored operating system by manufacturers, with the largest share of the smartphone market at 44 percent.

The findings are part of Nielsen's "State of the Media: The Mobile Media" report, based on a survey of 25,000 mobile customers. The report  also says:

  • 64 percent of 25– to 34-year-olds and 53 percent of 18– to 24-year-olds now own smartphones, "and they have led in smartphone penetration compared to other age groups since 2009."
  • 83 percent of all smartphone application downloaders use Android or Apple iOS smartphone devices and "they mostly discover apps by searching the top app stores and relying on recommendations."
  • On the Android platform, app usage varies by age: "Older generations like games, such as 'Angry Birds,' and rely on their mobile devices for productivity (e.g. Google properties). Younger folks will use entertainment apps with social dimensions (e.g. Pandora, YouTube, Words with Friends) more than older segments."
  • Social networking is "increasingly popular on mobile devices: Android smartphones and iPhone users spend more time engaging with the Facebook application on their phones than any other mobile application."
  • Teens ages 13 to 17 "sent and received the most" text messages, an average of 3,417 as month in the third quarter of this year. But the "number of messages sent by those 55+ has more than doubled compared to 2009."
  • 87 percent of those who have downloaded an app in the last 30 days say they used "deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon or Living Social."
  • 49 percent say they "frequently use their smartphones while shopping."

Smartphone users also have a growing "app"-etite for apps; Nielsen says "app downloaders report having an average of 33 apps on their mobile phone, up 22 percent since 2010. Apple iPhone app downloaders have an average of 44 apps on their phones, while those with Android OS smartphones report having an average of 32."

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