Sep. 27, 2011 at 1:22 PM ET
In a recent survey, more than half of people shopping for new phones chose smartphones. And the majority of those smartphones purchased in the past three months ran the Android operating system. While this suggests a very real surge in Android popularity, it also demonstrates a quirk of the iPhone buying cycle: iPhone sales dip before a new model comes out.
Nielsen, which has been keeping track of mobile consumer buying habits, found that in August, 43 percent of all smartphone owners had an Android device, but that 56 percent of people who had bought phones in the past three months had selected the Android OS.
Meanwhile, iPhones are still in the hands of 28 percent of all smartphone owners. And the same percentage chose the Apple iOS device when buying a new smartphone. However, with Apple's big iPhone announcement coming Oct. 4, the iPhones may pull ahead again, in this constant back-and-forth between the mobile giants.
"Those figures could change quickly in the months to come," speculates Nielsen's Don Kellogg. "Every time Apple launches a new iPhone or makes it available on a new wireless carrier, there is an increase in their sales."
As you can see in the chart above, as of August, 43 percent of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. had a smartphone, with 58 percent of those who purchased a new device in the last three months choosing a smartphone over a feature phone.