It’s been looming on the horizon for some time now, but it is finally here. For the first time in US history, smartphone sales have outpaced feature phone sales.
Nielsen research released their most recent survey of US mobile customers and found that 55% of new cell phone purchases were smartphones.
Overall smartphone penetration still lags behind feature phones. Only 38% of all active cell phones in the US are smartphones. But smartphone sales have been trending up for some time now. The 55% figure is a 34 point jump from this time last year.
Nielsen further broke down the smartphone market. No surprises there, as Android phones still reign supreme with a comfortable 38% share of the total smartphone market in the US. Apple’s iOS is in second with a 27% share, up 2% since the last survey was released.
Windows Mobile currently holds a 9% share of the US market. Those numbers don’t include Windows Phone 7, which currently holds just a 1% share. Those numbers have to be discouraging as Microsoft has invested quite a bit in hopes of becoming a dominant player in the mobile market.
HP’s WebOS currently sits on 2%. HP made noise earlier this week when they announced that they are in conversations with several third part manufacturers to license out their mobile OS. Samsung’s name has been most linked to a potential licensing agreement. HP would become the first phone manufacturer to license out their proprietary OS to a third party manufacturer.
RIM may want to keep a close eye on this development, as they desperately need to find a new direction due to their slipping grasp on the business market.
With 68% of the mobile market still using feature phones, there is plenty of room for growth for any of the aforementioned smartphone platforms. Can Blackberry turn things around and remain a significant challenger to Android and Apple? Can HP or Microsoft step up and grab a chunk of that potential market share? Or are Google and Apple destined to absolutely dominate the US smartphone market? The picture should begin to clear up over the course of the last half of the year.