NPD: First-time smartphone buyers favor Android over iOS

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS together powered more than 90 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to research firm NPD Group's latest Mobile Phone Track. Among first-time smartphone buyers in the fourth quarter, 57 percent purchased Android devices compared to just 34 percent who bought iPhones.

"Android has been criticized for offering a more complex user experience than its competitors, but the company's wide carrier support and large app selection is appealing to new smartphone customers," NPD executive director of connected intelligence Ross Rubin said in a statement. "Android's support of LTE at Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has also made it the exclusive choice for customers who want to take advantage of that carrier's fastest network."

NPD reports that smartphones made up 68 percent of all mobile phones sold in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, an 18 percent year-over-year increase. Android led with 48 percent smartphone market share, followed by iOS at 43 percent. Apple's new iPhone 4S was the bestselling smartphone during the fourth quarter, followed by the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Galaxy S 4G.

"Attracted by a faster processor, improved camera and the Siri speech-driven agent, most iPhone buyers paid a premium for the iPhone 4S, making it the top-selling handset in Q4," Rubin said. "The iPhone 4S outsold the iPhone 4 by 75 percent, and outsold the iPhone 3GS, available for free on AT&T (NYSE:T), five to one."

For more:
- read this release

Related articles:
Study: 36% of iPhone 4S buyers defected from another platform
Nielsen: Android, iOS fuel 90% of U.S. smartphone sales in Q4
NPD: Apple's iOS closes in on Android with Q4 sales surge
ComScore: Android, iOS combine for 75% of U.S. smartphone market
iOS, Android downloads eclipse 1B a week as 2012 dawns