September 16, 2010, 12:39 PM

Mobile phones are getting smarter, new study finds

53.4 million U.S. consumers own smartphones, up 11% from April.

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New research from comScore Inc. finds 53.4 million U.S. consumers owned smartphones during the three-month period ending in July, up 11% from the prior quarter.

Research In Motion Limited, which makes the many versions of the BlackBerry smartphone, was the No. 1 smartphone platform with 39.3% of subscribers, Apple Inc. came in second with 23.8%. However, Google Inc., maker of the Android smartphone operating system, posted an increase of five percentage points in its subscriber base for the three-month period ending in July compared to the prior three-month timeframe. Google’s Android platform now accounts for 17% of smartphone subscriber market share. Microsoft and Palm round out the top five platforms with 11.8% and 4.9% of smartphone subscribers, respectively.

Despite losing share to Google’s Android, most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers as the smartphone market overall continues to grow, comScore says in its new report.

ComScore also looked at mobile content usage, and found good old fashioned text messaging still reigns. In July, two out of three U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging, up 1.4 percentage points from the prior three-month period. Use of mobile browsers to access the Internet from mobile phones reached 33.6% of U.S. mobile subscribers, an increase of 2.5 percentage points. Subscribers who downloaded applications comprised 31.4% of the mobile audience, an increase of 1.6 percentage points from the previous period. Mobile gaming fell slightly, with 22.3% playing games on their phones, down 0.1 percentage point. 21.8% of subscribers accessed social networking sites or blogs, up 1.9 percentage points, comScore reports, and 14.5% listened to music, up 0.7 percentage points. For the three-month period ending in July, 234 million U.S. consumers ages 13 and older used mobile devices.

While Research In Motion  is the most popular smartphone platform, device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top mobile equipment manufacturer overall, providing phones for 23.1% of U.S. mobile phone subscribers, including those with conventional mobile handsets, up one percentage point from the preceding three-month period. LG ranked second with 21.2%, followed by Motorola with 19.8%, RIM with 9.0%, and Nokia with 7.8%.

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