Smartphone owners are becoming the majority

Owning a smartphone is no longer something for the elite and tech junkie crowd.

According to the latest data from Nielsen, for the first time in the US, the number of people under 44 who own a smartphone outweighs those who own a less powerful cell phone.

53% of people between the ages of 35 and 44 who own a mobile phone in the US now have a smartphone as of the third quarter of 2011, according to the survey.

That number only continues to rise as you lower the age threshold. For mobile phone owners between the ages of 13 and 17, 62% have a smartphone.

Of course, the older generation is not quite at that level, but their growth in that direction is unmistakable.

For example, 39% of cell phone owners aged 45 to 54 have a smartphone, compared to 25% at this time last year.

And if you go to the top of the spectrum, 18% of mobile users over the age of 65 have a smartphone. Last year, that number was 12%.

The “smartphone” category is defined almost exclusively as those phones running Android, iOS, Blackberry, or a Windows Mobile operating system. Nielsen also has an “Other” category which represented 4% of smartphone owners.

And not to surprise anyone, Android was the leader in the suvery’s breakdown of smartphone platforms. 43% of smartphone owners surveyed said they use Android, compared to 28% for the iPhone and 18% for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, which includes Windows Phone and Microsoft’s legacy devices, accounted for just 7%.