Android, iPhone, BlackBerry Lead Smartphone Adoption: Pew Report

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

Google Android phones lead smartphone adoption in the U.S., followed by Apple iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones.

A little more than two out of five cell owners (42 percent) owned a smartphone as of May 2011, according to a new study from Pew Research. Since 83 percent of Americans own some kind of mobile phone, this means that 35 percent of all American adults are smartphone owners.

In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that 33 percent of cell owners said that their phone is a smartphone. Just over half (53 percent) said that their phone is not a smartphone, while the remaining 14 percent do not know if their phone is a smartphone or not.

Additionally, 39 percent of cell owners said that their phone operates on a smartphone platform common to the U.S. market, according to the Pew study.  (This includes the iPhone and Blackberry, as well as phones running the Android, Windows or Palm operating systems.)

What's more, 13 percent do not know what type of phone they have, while the remaining responses included those that were not smartphones (i.e. "basic cell phone," "cheapest phone" or "flip phone") or that were not easily classified into a particular category (i.e., Samsung, Nokia, Verizon or AT&T).

According to the study, phones operating on Google’s Android platform are currently the most prevalent type of smartphone, followed by Apple iPhones and BlackBerry devices. Android phones are especially common among young adults and African-Americans, while iPhones and BlackBerry devices are most prevalent among college graduates and the financially well off.

The report also found smartphone users own a wide range of devices in addition to their phones. Eight in ten smartphone owners also own a laptop computer, and e-book readers and tablet computers are much more prevalent among smartphone owners than in the general population.

Nearly nine in ten smartphone owners (87 percent) use their phones to access the Internet or email, with 78 percent of these users saying that they go online using their phone on a typical day, the study found. Put differently, that means that on a typical day 68 percent of all smartphone owners go online using their phone.

Although smartphone ownership varies significantly based on demographic factors, within the smartphone owner population, there is relatively little variation when it comes to using one’s phone to go online. Age is the primary differentiator: 94 percent of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use their phones to go online, with 81 percent doing so on a typical day.

The study is based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26-May 22, 2011.