January 7, 2011, 12:19 PM

Or is it BlackBerry, Android and then iPhone?

Two leading research firms release differing smartphone market share numbers.

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The Nielsen Co. and comScore Inc. both have mobile phone user panels they survey on a regular basis, but the number of people they survey differs by 10,000—Nielsen 20,000 and comScore 10,000. That seems to make a big difference when it comes to drawing conclusions about where smartphones fall in the market share race.

Nielsen recently released figures showing that the iPhone is increasing market share slightly, BlackBerry is dropping and Android is growing strong. From June 2010 to November 2010, the iPhone grew from 27.9% to 28.6%, BlackBerry fell from 33.9% to 26.1% and Android rose from 15.0% to 25.8%, according to Nielsen.

But comScore just released its latest figures, and it’s not iPhone, BlackBerry then Android, it’s BlackBerry, Android then iPhone.

According to comScore, comparing the three-month period ending in August 2010 to the three-month period ending in November 2010, BlackBerry’s market share dropped from 37.6% to 33.5%, Android jumped from 19.6% to 26.0% and the iPhone increased from 24.2% to 25.0%.

But both firms agree on one thing: BlackBerry market share continues to drop, the iPhone’s market share continues to increase a bit and Android’s market share continues to soar.

ComScore also reports that for the three-month period ending in November, 61.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones. On a similar note, Nielsen predicts half of mobile phones in use by the end of this year will be smartphones.

And consumers are using their smartphones for a variety of mobile activities. In November, 67.1% of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 0.5 percentage points versus the prior three-month period, while mobile web browsers were used by 35.3% of U.S. mobile subscribers, up 0.8 percentage points, comScore reports. Subscribers who used downloaded apps comprised 33.4% of the mobile audience, representing an increase of 1.1 percentage points, the firm says. Accessing social networking sites or blogs increased 1.0 percentage points, representing 23.5% of mobile subscribers.

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