Latest Nielsen Report: The Obituary for Feature Phones?

By Gerard Longo, Assistant Editor — July 13, 2012

Smartphones have continued their takeover of the mobile industry, and it appears more than ever that we live in a world where their antiquated counterparts may be a thing of the past.

According to a Nielsen report from Thursday, July 12, two-thirds of individuals who subscribed to a mobile service in the months of April, May and June have opted for a smart device.

This is just the latest in a series of developments that paves the way for smart devices to make feature phones obsolete and to do it quickly. Between the amount of press coverage smart devices get over feature devices - when is the last time you've seen a commercial for a mobile device that isn't a smartphone? - and the fact that businesses and corporations worldwide are implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and creating mobile apps to keep with current mobile trends, it is clear that smart devices have not only exceeded feature devices in capability, but also in popularity.

The Nielsen report also shows that Android remains the number one operating system for smart devices, with 51.8 percent of all smartphone owners having an Android device. Apple's iOS isn’t far behind though, as it is used 34.3 percent of smartphone users.

While Android and Apple seem to have gained users, the Nielsen report spells further bad news for RIM's BlackBerry and other, lesser-used smart operating systems. Only 4 percent of new smartphone owners chose BlackBerry as their operating system, while just 5 percent went with Windows Mobile, Windows 7, Symbian and PalmWeb.

A Two-Horse Race

In the end, it seems like Android and iOS are going to be duking it out for smartphone supremacy for quite some time. Each system has its advantage. Apple products seem to have the most dedicated following not just in the mobile world, but in the tech world itself. Because of this, iOS is always going to keep its fair share of customers coming back every time a new product comes along. Android's main advantage, as presented by Nielsen, appears to be that it is spread across the widest array of mobile devices out of any operating system on the market.

Although other companies would like to make a play toward major relevance in the smart device realm, there doesn't, at this present time, seem to be a serious third contender out there. Nielsen's July report makes it abundantly clear: it's an Android and iOS world, and everyone else is living in it.


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