A sharp increase in consumers purchasing smartphones over the last year has driven the percentage of U.S. mobile subscribers with smartphones to 49.7 percent, according to media research group Nielsen.
That growth in smartphone ownership has likely contributed to the number of games downloaded from mobile app shops -- consumers have downloaded over 25 billion games and applications
from iOS's App Store, and more than 11 billion from Android Market/Google Play
And earlier this week, market research firm Newzoo said that 100 million Americans are playing games on smartphones and tablets
, a 35 percent year-over-year increase.
Nielsen says that the share of U.S. smartphone owners is up from the 36 percent it recorded in February 2011. It adds that two-thirds of consumers who purchased a new mobile device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.
Of those U.S. consumers who own a smartphone, 48 percent have an Android-powered device, compared to 32 percent who own an iPhone, 12 percent who own a Blackberry smartphone, and 8 percent who have a device with another operating system.
While the firm did not provide estimates for the number of smartphone owners in the country, Google said last month that it activates over 850,000 Android devices
around the world every day, and that it has so far activated more than 300 million of them.
As of March 2011, Apple had sold 108 million iPhones -- it later reported selling 37 million during last year's holiday quarter. It has so far sold 316 million iOS-based devices (includes iPads and iPhone Touches).