Nielson reported last month that almost 50% of US mobile phone users had a smartphone. Android devices lead the pack, with 48% of smartphone users. This was the same figure reported by comScore in its report of mobile phone use trends for the three month period ending January 31, 2012. According to the comScore report, both Android and iOS devices gained marketshare during that period, while RIM and Windows Phone devices lost ground. RIM’s fourth quarter 2011 results were posted yesterday and the results aren’t pretty – a 19% drop in net revenue with a $125 million loss in the quarter.
As for tablets, Apple’s iPad still leads the way in sales, but Android tablets are making a run, gaining market share in the fourth quarter of 2011. IDC reported that Android’s tablet market share grew in 2011, from 32.3% at the end of the third quarter to 44.6% to close the fourth quarter. This growth was fueled by sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which runs on a custom version of the Android OS. As noted by MacRumors, “IDC predicts that Android as a whole will overtake iOS in market share by 2015, but Apple’s single-vendor strategy will see the company maintain its dominance in revenue through the end of the 2016 forecast period and beyond.”
What’s it all mean for app developers? Well, comScore’s report put the number of US smartphone users at over 100 million. Although the numbers are a bit dated, Nielson reported last year that the average Android device has 35 apps. According to Google, one billion Android apps are downloaded each month. If you have an idea for an Android app, there’s not time like now to get busy developing it.