Nielsen: iOS and Android tied in popularity survey

Nielsen revealed some interesting statistics today regarding the popularity of mobile operating systems (based on October 2010 data). If anything, the data shows that the ongoing battle in the mobile sector is at a climax, with all major operating systems in very close races in all categories. If the general attitude of the Internet and its denizens’ heated discussions are any measure, it seems that the statistics are right on target. As the total percentage of smartphone users (defining smartphone as a phone with a full operating system) inches close to 30% of all cell phones, victory in the popularity contest becomes ever so important.

Some highlights:

  • Of those upgrading to a smartphone from a featurephone, 28% were interested in an Android phone, while 25% were interested in iOS.
  • Of those upgrading from a smartphone to another smartphone (side-grading?), 28% were also interested in Android, but 35% were interested in iOS.
  • In both categories, Windows Mobile scored 6% and 7%, respectively.
  • Android is definitely a male thing. For all consumers getting a smartphone, 22.8% of females were interested in Android, compared to 32.6% of males.
  • Interestingly enough, iOS interest was about the same for both genders, with 30.9% of females getting iOS, and 28.6% of males. The discrepancy came from the “not sure” category, where 23.8% of women didn’t know what they wanted, and only 14.9% of males were as unsure.
  • iOS and RIM are tied for actual smartphone OS share (at 27.4%), but RIM scored in the low teens in every measure of desired OS. This shows two possible trends: Blackberry is losing popularity, and the fact that enterprise users, which make up a huge segment of Blackberry users, don’t care for the OS at a consumer level.
  • Unsurprisingly, iOS interest peaks in the 18-24 demographic. The young crowd has always been Apple’s strong point, and it’s no different in the mobile sector. Similarly un-shocking is the increase in the “not sure” response as the respondents get older.  

The very low Windows Mobile numbers are likely a reflection of the age of the data. October 2010 was the first month WP7 had any real presence, and “Windows Mobile” includes the relatively ancient Windows Mobile 6.5, which has been lacking in popularity for quite some time. It will be very interesting to see what Windows Phone popularity numbers look like now, and which OS is hemorrhaging users to Microsoft. See the full stats in the gallery.

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29 Comments

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Looks like WP7 is going to be yet another money pit for Microsoft. I feel sorry for all the developers and users who put their faith in Microsoft, for it's going to be financially non-viable all round. I wonder what Dell is going to do after encouraging their employees to use a dying brand. I mean I know Dell and Microsoft are inextricably linked, but still, it's a bad call for them.

The discrepancy came from the “not sure” category, where 23.8% of women didn't know what they wanted, and only 14.9% of males were as unsure.

You could probably ask any question you like and get a similarly-proportioned set of results

tomjol said,

You could probably ask any question you like and get a similarly-proportioned set of results

I LOL'd. My fiancee falls into that 23.8%.... on everything that involves a discussion including this.

androids more then likely just going to keep growing... iphone/os probably level out soon enough. Wp7 will be lucky to get to double digits if at all.. so obvious signs really.

Digitalx said,
androids more then likely just going to keep growing... iphone/os probably level out soon enough. Wp7 will be lucky to get to double digits if at all.. so obvious signs really.

I guess youy have already invested too much money into the Android platform.


Unsurprisingly, iOS interest peaks in the 18-24 demographic. The young crowd has always been Apple's string point, and it's no different in the mobile sector. Similarly un-shocking is the increase in the “not sure” response as the respondents get older.

Mostly kids wanting whats cool and most popular.

ILikeTobacco said,

source?

I quoted the OP in my reply, missed that? Said that Apples string point (which I am taking means "appeals to") the younger crowd. The article further went on to say that the NOT SURE responses increase as they get older.

Edited by Colin-uk, Dec 1 2010, 5:30pm :

techbeck said,

I quoted the OP in my reply, missed that? Said that Apples string point (which I am taking means "appeals to") the younger crowd. The article further went on to say that the NOT SURE responses increase as they get older.

Your derogatory spin on that information ("kids") is what makes your post <snipped>

Edited by Colin-uk, Dec 1 2010, 5:23pm :

Shadrack said,

Your derogatory spin on that information ("kids") is what makes your post <snipped>

I am 35 years old so I consider people 18-25 years old kids. Nothing derogatory was meant by it. Heck, my dad is 65 and he stills calls me a kid as well as my siblings.

techbeck said,

I quoted the OP in my reply, missed that? Said that Apples string point (which I am taking means "appeals to") the younger crowd. The article further went on to say that the NOT SURE responses increase as they get older.


Nice try to wiggle around what I was referring to. You said it was "mostly kids wanting whats cool and most popular." where in what you quoted did it say anything about being cool and most popular as the reason for them wanting it? hence i asked for a source, because everyone knows how you only state unbiased facts about the iOS. Where did you get the information that people are mostly getting it because its cool and popular?

ILikeTobacco said,

Nice try to wiggle around what I was referring to. You said it was "mostly kids wanting whats cool and most popular." where in what you quoted did it say anything about being cool and most popular as the reason for them wanting it? hence i asked for a source, because everyone knows how you only state unbiased facts about the iOS. Where did you get the information that people are mostly getting it because its cool and popular?

I didnt wiggle around what you said...you were unclear in what you were after. And it was my opinion about the kids wanting it because it is cool. If I was talking about FACT, I would of posted source links.

But I know from when i was a kid, and from my nieces and nephews, that kids still want what is cool and most popular. Also, I dont know how many people I have asked why they are getting something and all they say is "its cool" or because so and so had one.

So to refresh, the cool part was MO, and the other part (who is Apples main age grp) was quoted from the OP.

I've gone iOS>Android>iOS.
I think for the next few years stats will keep changing, as people try out new OSs when their contracts end.

acnpt said,
I've gone iOS>Android>iOS.
I think for the next few years stats will keep changing, as people try out new OSs when their contracts end.

Yep it's a good time to be a smartphone buyer. As both Android and iOS fight it out, the consumer reaps the benefits from new features that each introduce

I never understood why "being the most used OS" is so important...
The best would be to have the "most satisfied customers" no?

NienorGT said,
I never understood why "being the most used OS" is so important...
The best would be to have the "most satisfied customers" no?

Harder to measure "satisfied" as it is not as simple as yes or no. Having and keeping a large user base is in a way of measurement of satisfaction.

NienorGT said,
I never understood why "being the most used OS" is so important...
The best would be to have the "most satisfied customers" no?

Yea I never got that either... No one ever claimed symbian to be the greets Mobile os ever during it's time of dominance

ILikeTobacco said,

Harder to measure "satisfied" as it is not as simple as yes or no. Having and keeping a large user base is in a way of measurement of satisfaction.


Nah, user base like in the case of symbian or android is more due to the amount of device running it than how much users like the OS.
Most user probably don't even know what OS they run...

And you can messages how many user are satisfied, well judging by how often those reports come around it must be...