Americans increasingly embracing iPhone over Android

Android shipments and usage have declined in the U.S. this past quarter, while iOS has made gains on both fronts

Though Apple struggled this past quarter against Samsung on the global mobile front, the company is not only gaining ground on Google in the United States in terms of smartphone shipment, but has edged past its rival in terms of overall usage.

This is clearly good news for Apple, which has witnessed Android gnawing into its market share since hitting the market. Apple may stretch its lead in the near future, too, as some iOS devotees may have held off investing in a new iPhone in anticipation of the iPhone 5.

One set of data pointing to America's increasing appeal for iOS comes from research company Strategy Analytics. This past quarter, smartphone shipments in the United States fell 5 percent year over year to reach 24 million units. By Strategy Analytics reckoning, several factors have contributed to a reduction in shipments this quarter: "This was one of the slowest growth rates ever experienced by the important U.S. smartphone market. A volatile economy, maturing penetration of smartphones among contract mobile subscribers, and major operators tightening their upgrade policies to enhance profits were among the main causes of the slowdown,"

Broken down by platform, shipments of Android devices drop from 15.3 million to 13.4 million, while iPhone shipments jumped from 5.9 million to 7.9 million. RIM, meanwhile, shipped 1.6 million devices for the quarter, a year-over-year decrease from 2.7 million. (The company didn't include specific numbers of other platforms, such as Windows Phone.)

In terms of smartphone market share in the United States, Google Android ended the quarter with 56.3 percent, down from 60.6 percent year over year. Apple, by contrast, saw its market share swell from 23.2 percent to 33.2 percent. BlackBerry market share was 6.5 percent at the quarter's end, down from 10.5 percent year over year.

Shipments alone don't tell the whole story, though. According to StatCounter, Americans are now accessing the Internet more with iPhones than with Android devices. At the end of Q2 in 2011, Android controlled 32.64 percent of mobile traffic in the United States, while Apple owned 35.59 percent. The gap narrowed the following quarter, with Android usage at 38.17 percent and iOS at 38.61.

But since then, iOS usage has steadily increased at a higher rate than Android usage. At the end of Q1 of 2012, for example, iOS represented just over 47 percent of smartphone traffic, whereas Android laid claim to 41.42 percent. By the end of Q2, iOS was enjoying 49.3 percent of the overall pie, while Android's share dipped to 40.3 percent.

The figures dovetail nicely with a recent report from Appcelerator and IDC, which found that enterprise application developers prefer developing for iOS over Android. "The Appcelerator/IDC 2Q 2012 Mobile Report, based on a survey of 3,632 developers around the world, found that 53.2 percent of developers feel Apple's iOS will win in the enterprise, compared with 37.5 percent who feel Android will win. This is a dramatic 16 point shift from just three quarters ago, when developers felt they were in a dead heat at 44 percent each," according to

What remains to be seen now is how Apple and Android will fare once Microsoft makes a meaningful entry into the fray with Windows Phone 8.

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