iOS advances as Android holds the line

Google’s Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system, with approximately 38% of smartphone consumers owning devices powered by the OS.

However, while Android also leads amongst those who recently purchased a new smartphone, it is Apple’s iPhone which has shown the most growth in recent months.

According to Nielsen, Android’s share of recent acquirers “flattened” in 2011, leaving Apple to effectively “drive” smartphone growth.

As Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes, Apple’s upward curve could be attributed to the Verizon iPhone as well as the slick and rapidly evolving iOS.

“[In any case], the damage for Android’s competitors is done,” he opined.

“[The survey] clearly shows a leveling off of Android’s growth rate and a corresponding acceleration for the iPhone.”

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s survey also indicated that smartphones continue to increase in popularity, with 38% of mobile consumers now owning such devices.

Indeed, 55% of those who purchased a new handset in the past three months reported buying a smartphone instead of a feature phone, up from 34 percent just a year ago.