According to a forthcoming Nielson report, its the guys at Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), not Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) that are now boasting the largest portion of smartphone users, though growth in their lead is slowing. The report indicates the Google Android OS phones account for 36% of the smartphone market, with Apple iOS phones ranking second at 26%, and Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry OS phones trailing close behind at 23%.
Following Google’s rapid ascension to the smartphone throne, climbing from a 15% share in June 2010 to 37% in March 2011, the three-way standoff among the major competitors cooled off, with all sides making little headway in recent months. Google and Apple have held steady at 36% and 26% of market share respectively over the past three months, while RIM’s Blackberry phones have declined from 23-22% of market share over the same period.
With Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) announcement last week of its new service, Google Wallet (For more info see our exclusive feature: “Is Google Wallet Poised to Revolutionize the Customer Experience“), many investors are wondering whether the ground-breaking innovation will translate into a bigger lead in the smartphone market for Google. The Nielson data indicates that Google may face more of an uphill battle than expected, as both Apple Iphone and RIM Blackberry users stand heavily entrenched.
Although Iphone users accounted for a much larger number of App downloads, music streams, and video sharing, Android users topped charts in terms of monthly data consumption, consuming an average of 582 megabytes of data per month compared to 492 for “iPhoners”, and 127 for Blackberry users.
After reports last week broke news that Google stole the technology for its forthcoming innovations, it is now unclear whether or not Google Wallet will ever be publicly available, and growth among Android users may continue to slow as a result. With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) preparing mobile-pay technology of its own, rumored to be compatible with the iPhone 5 (slated for release in September), the battle between the smartphone juggernauts is sure to heat up in the coming months.