American mobile phone users are rapidly switching to smartphones. A study by comScore, using data from its MobiLens service, looked at smartphone market penetration in the U.S and revealed that the number of smartphone users rose to 129.4 million as of January 2013, representing 55 percent of mobile market penetration.
The comScore MobiLens platform data is based on online surveys of mobile subscribers aged 13 and over, and doesn’t take into account secondary devices.
The latest study found that Apple was the top manufacturer, capturing 37.8 percent of the market, up 3.5 percentage points from October 2012. This increase may be due to the release of the iPhone 5 in September 2012. Samsung ranks next with 21.4 percent, while HTC, Motorola and LG all have less than a 10 percent share of the market in the U.S.
The situation changes when it comes to operating systems. Android was the most popular operating system, holding 52.3 percent of the market. The Apple platform was the only one to increase its market share over the period from October 2012 to January 2013, increasing by 3.5 percentage points, matching its manufacturer market share. Blackberry dropped from 7.8 percent to 5.9 percent, but the company hopes to reverse the decline with more recent smartphone releases. Windows has 3.1 percent of the market, while Symbian rounded out the top five, holding just 0.5 percent.
The mobile network operators continue to offer attractive contracts, with smartphones available at a substantial discount or for free if consumers sign long-term agreements. Major retailers, such as Office Depot, are offering some smartphones without a contract. The Obama administration recently came out in favor of smartphone users being able to unlock their devices. Eventually, it may be possible to buy a smartphone independently and switch mobile networks to get the best deal.
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