Nielsen: Android Users Gobble Up the Most Data

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 1, 2011

The latest Nielsen report has both good and bad news for Google’s Android operating system. The report states that Android phones are the most popular among U.S. consumers and Android users consume the most data per month, well ahead of iPhone, BlackBerry and other smartphone users.

The bad news, though, is that Android’s skyrocketing growth is now beginning to slow down. Though Android still leads the way with 37% of the overall market share for smartphones, with iOS coming in second at 26%, and RIM’s BlackBerry OS at third with 22%, these figures haven’t changed substantially over the last quarter.

Is the U.S. smartphone segment headed for a three-way stalemate for the rest of this year? With WWDC around the corner, will Apple spring a surprise with the iPhone 5 announcement?

Nielsen says Android and iPhone customers exhibit “data-intensive usage” patterns. Android users consume an average of 582 Mbytes per month, compared to 492 Mbytes among Apple iOS users. Interestingly, other statistics provided in the Nielsen report portray a different picture. Nearly 79% of iPhone users downloaded apps in the last 30 days, as opposed to 74% of Android owners. Almost 46% of iPhone owners streamed online music or mobile radio, compared with 43% of Android owners. Based on those grounds, it’s hard to justify whether Android users gobble up more data than iPhone owners.

A report from Areso released last December mentions Android device owners are the hungriest users of mobile data. GigaOM brings up a  couple of interesting points – first, Apple enforces large apps (over 20 MB) to be downloaded over Wi-Fi rather than 3G and secondly, Android Market has a higher percentage of free apps compared to iOS. Surprisingly though, Android hasn’t picked up yet amongst IT organizations – generally considered to be the heaviest data consumers.

Some believe the slowdown in Android penetration is temporary and may well be attributed to the fact the Verizon iPhone launched just around the time this Nielsen survey period began. This theory is supported by NPD’s April report, which attributed the release of the Verizon iPhone had a negative effect on Android sales. Android’s share may further change as Apple prepares to launch the iPhone on other carriers such as T-Mobile. Speculations are that Apple will be announcing the iPhone 5 in accordance with its typical June schedule, thereby further exerting pressure on Android sales.

To conclude, the latest statistics from Nielsen are a clear indication that mobile data consumption will continue to rise and unless Google or Apple come up with another game changer move, the three-way standoff among the major competitors is likely to continue for the next quarter.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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