Apple today pretty much confirmed that it plans to announce the iPhone 5 at a press event on October 4th, with a full release coming shortly thereafter. But as iOS fanatics get ready for the latest version of the smartphone, here are some interesting numbers to contemplate.

New research from Nielsen indicates that 56 percent of Americans who purchased a smartphone in the past three months chose an Android. That compares to 28 percent who purchased an iPhone and nine percent who chose BlackBerry. (I assume Windows Phone showed up in the “other” category).

Now, Apple fans will be quick to point out that many possible iPhone buyers have held off purchase decisions in recent months in anticipation of the new iPhone 5. And the researchers at Nielsen also recognize this trend. They write:

Apple iOS remains popular in second place with 28 percent of all smartphone users, and the same percentage among those who recently got a new device. But those figures could change quickly in the months to come. Every time Apple launches a new iPhone or makes it available on a new wireless carrier, there is an increase in their sales.

Even so, Android has quickly emerged as a sizable rival to iOS and that could change the purchasing decisions as customers look to buy new smartphones this winter. (In the past, there just weren’t many comparable rivals to Apple’s device).

As the chart above shows, 43 percent of all smartphone owners now have an Android device. That compares to 28 percent who own an iPhone.

Will the iPhone 5 help change those numbers? Here’s a closer look at smartphone purchasing habits.

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  • John W Baxter

    The thing is, I don’t want a Google Android device (Amazon may or may not interest me when my iPad wears out, hence “Google Android” rather than “Android”).

    But I could easily switch (AT&T willing–or even not) to a Windows Phone 7.5 phone. After Nokia shows what it’s doing in the US.

  • Libu1975

    Thank goodness!!  All of the rumors about the iPhone 5 have head my head spinning.  I, finally, found this great infographic ( and it helped me sort through all of them.  

  • Guest

    Best of luck to Apple with their “Android killer”!

  • ‘Red’ Russak

    Smart move Apple. My 3GS is about to die and I was considering an Android. Also, gives them enough time to build hype going into the holiday season.

  • Anonymous

    Nice piece. I’ve got to wonder, though, if this Nielsen research looking at the last three months skews the data set a bit. With the iPhone 5 rumored for so long, it would make sense that many people (including me) are waiting for it to come out before purchasing a new iPhone and weren’t buying one over the last three months for that reason.

    • johnhcook

      Exactly right, I pointed that out in the text above and Nielsen also makes note of that too. If the iPhone 5 has some cool features, I am sure the market dynamics will change once again.

      • Anonymous

        Ahh, yes. My eye jumped right to the block quote, and now that I look back, you put it much better yourself than Nielsen did, regarding people holding off on iPhone purchases. 

  • Steve

    I think a great datapoint that might explain Android’s market share growth is the fact that Apple doens’t sell the iPhone for lesss than what, $299, and Androids can be had for much less (with a contract). I got a great Android for $99 with a full rebate. $0 or ~$300? Hmmm, which would most (except the most Apple-ized fans) pick? Just wonderin’.

  • Ksants7

    I’ve been waiting for this since middle of August! I cracked my iPhone3GS and was considering buying the iPhone4 until I heard the news about the iPhone5 and now I’m so happy to hear about this conference. 

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