Apple’s and Android’s stronghold on the U.S. smartphone market has been the case for many quarters already, and figures out today from Nielsen show how that has translated into a domination of the business of mobile content as well: phones based on Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS together account for 71 percent of all smartphones in the U.S., and some 83 percent of all apps that have been downloaded in Q3, according to new figures from the research group.
The two platforms have been gaining users in a crucial period of growth for smartphones as it picks up early adopters: penetration in the U.S. now stands at 44 percent, more than double the 18 percent penetration in Q3 2010. That still means that there is still more than half the market to play for—an opportunity companies like Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) hope to catch.
Nielsen, which today publishes its latest State of the Media report, notes apps have remained a popular source of mobile content, with the number of smartphone users downloading apps now at 62 percent. That population is largely concentrated on the two leading platforms, which together account for 83 percent of all app downloads.
The growth on iOS and Android, combined with the declines on other platforms, point to how app ecosystems appear to be coalescing around the dominant players:
—On Android, 49 percent of smartphone owners have downloaded apps, a massive rise on the four percent that had done so in 2009.
—Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has the second-strongest platform friendly for apps, with 34 percent. But that is actually a slight decline on 2009, when 37 percent of iOS owners downloaded an app.
—But when it comes to other platforms, the percentages of users downloading (and presumably using) apps has actually gone down. Eleven percent of BlackBerry users have downloaded apps, down from 32 percent in 2009. And only three percent of Windows Mobile users have downloaded apps, compared to 18 percent in 2009. The WebOS platform has seen a decline to one percent from five percent, while Symbian remained level at one percent in both years.