Nielsen has wrapped up their latest market research data, and in the three months leading up to February, 43% of U.S. smartphone buyers got an iPhone. By comparison, 48% bought an Android phone, and 5% picked up a BlackBerry. Nielsen has also concluded that smartphone penetration in the U.S. has reached 49.7%, nearly overtaking feature phones. At the same time last year, smartphone penetration was still at 36%. Woo, progress.
I would be curious to see these kinds of figures for other major international markets. I can only imagine that feature phones are still huge in India, and most Japanese "feature" phones have specs comparable to our smartphones. At least for Android handsets, cost is becoming less of a barrier in emerging markets, but I have a hard time imagining Apple offering an affordable entry-level iPhone to displace feature phone usage.
Quick show of hands - how many of you still have friends with feature phones? Have you tried convincing them to upgrade? Why are they holding out? And then, just for fun, jump into our forums and let us know what phone you had before making the switch to iPhone.