July 28, 2011, 4:50 PM

Sorry, Android, the iPhone reigns supreme

While Android has the most OS share, the iPhone is the single most popular smartphone.

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Research firms are in agreement that Google Inc.’s Android bests all rivals in terms of smartphone operating system market share, topping even the mega-popular iOS from Apple Inc. But one significant point gets lost when looking only at operating system data, and that is the fact that the iPhone is the single most popular smartphone, far outpacing its nearest Android rival, according to second quarter 2011 smartphone ownership data from The Nielsen Co.

There is only one iPhone, so when accounting for smartphone market share by operating system, the entire Apple iOS share stems from the singular iPhone. Numerous companies manufacture smartphones that use the Android operating system; thus, Android’s total market share is the sum total of many devices. This is significant for retailers creating mobile apps because various Android phones will have different screens, processor capabilities and user interfaces, whereas the iPhone is a singular entity. Knowing that most smartphone owners have an iPhone in their hand can influence where a retailer chooses to begin in mobile app development.

In the second quarter, Android had the greatest share of the smartphone market by operating system, 39%. Apple’s iOS came in second with 28%. Trailing the two top rivals are Research in Motion’s BlackBerry with 20%, Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7 with 9%, HP WebOS (formerly Palm) with 2%, and Symbian with 2%.

However, broken out by smartphone hardware as opposed to operating system software, the iPhone has 28%. In the Android field, HTC has 14%, Motorola 11%, Samsung 8% and other manufacturers 6%.

“Apple is clearly the top smartphone manufacturer in the United States,” Nielsen says.

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