Half of All U.S. Mobile Subscribers Own Smartphones, Nielsen Says

It may seem like everyone owns a smartphone these days, and that's because over half of all mobile subscribers living in the U.S. -- or 50.4 percent, to be exact -- do own one, according to the latest data from market research firm Nielsen. That figure is up 2.6 percentage points since December 2011 back when feature phones were still the most popular option.  Not anymore.

According to Nielsen, Apple is the top manufacturer of smartphone handsets, but iOS isn't the most popular mobile operating system in town. That honor belongs to Android, which is installed on 48.5 percent of all smartphones, compared to 32 percent for iOS. Sitting in a distant third place is RIM Blackberry (11.6 percent), followed by Windows Mobile (4.1 percent), Windows Phone (1.7 percent), and all others (2.1 percent).

Nielsen dug a little deeper into the tendency to pick a smartphone over a feature phone and found that 50.9 percent of all female mobile subscribers carried smartphones in March 2012 compared to 50.1 percent for men. Smartphones are particularly popular among people ages 25 to 34 with two out of three in this age group owning one.

Breaking it down by ethnicity, Nielsen found that U.S. smartphone penetration is most prominent among Asians and Pacific Islanders (67.3 percent), followed by Hispanics (57.3 percent), African Americans (54.4 percent), and Caucasians (44.7 percent).