Smartphones Outnumber Feature Phones in U.S. for First Time

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Smartphones have finally become the norm. According to a new poll from Pew, 46% of Americans have a smartphone, compared to 41% who “own a cell phone that is not a smartphone.” Only 35% of Americans owned smartphones as of May 2011 and, back then, smartphone ownership still lagged behind ownership of feature phones by 13%.

So, who’s buying more smartphones? Everyone! Smartphone ownership was up across every single demographic, with young people (ages 18-24) and middle-aged people (ages 45-54) leading the charge. Not surprisingly, young people with money had the highest rate of ownership — 72% of people ages 18-29 with salaries above $30,000 own a smartphone in the U.S.

(MORE: 14 Notable Phones and Tablets from Mobile World Congress 2012)

Only our senior citizens seem hesitant to get on the bandwagon, with the 65+ age group seeing only a 2% increase in ownership. Still, this is all very good news for the industry, especially Google: The number of people who identified their phone as an Android device was up 15%.

This smartphone boom has not, however, been kind to RIM — the number of people who said they had a BlackBerry actually dropped 10% from the year before.

Along with increased smartphone ownership comes increased ability to judge whether or not you own a smartphone. Strange as it sounds, last year 14% of people had no idea whether or not their phone was smartphone. This year, that number has dropped to 8%.

This increased obsession with smartphones isn’t limited to the United States. Just last month, Forrester Research predicted that by 2016 there would be 1 billion smartphone users worldwide, with 257 million of them living in the United States.

MORE: Google: Android Apps Have Tripled to Nearly Half a Million Since Last Year