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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