Nielsen: Majority of Mobile Subscribers Now Smartphone Owners

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If you’re immersed in the tech world, it can be hard to believe that there are still people out there without smartphones. The fact is that as recently as December, the majority of mobile subscribers were using plain old feature phones. It appears the United States has turned a corner recently — according to Nielsen, 50.4% of mobile subscribers are now smartphone users.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that as people turn in their old phones, they opt for upgrading to smartphones instead. That’s easier to do now when you’ve got deals like a 99-cent iPhone 3GS (with a two-year contract from AT&T), a $99 brand-new Nokia Lumia 900 and a bevy of cheap Android phones available from every service provider. Not to mention there are some pretty affordable deals on service plans out there, especially from T-Mobile.

Another factor in smartphones’ rise to dominance? Young people love them. As of March 2012, more than two out of three people age 25 to 34 had smartphones. That’s a lot of peer pressure pushing smartphones into the “must-have” category for young adults. They’re also slightly more popular with women by a margin of 0.8%.

The flood of new smartphone customers are also increasingly going with Google’s Android operating system. Almost half (48.5%) of smartphone users are using Android, compared to only 32% for Apple’s iOS. BlackBerry sits in third place at 11.6%.

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