Nielsen: more than half of US teens now own smartphones

Yes, we know Android is holding steady at about 52 percent of US smartphone market share. What's interesting is just who's driving growth as a whole. According to Nielsen, 58 percent of American teens between 13 and 17 now have a smartphone -- that's a big jump from 36 percent a year earlier and a sign that the youngest owners have a significant sway over where the market is going. Not that young adults don't have an impact. Although the 25-to-34 crowd isn't making as big a comparative leap, its smartphone ownership has climbed from 59 percent to a dominating 74 percent in the same space of time.

No matter how much youth set the pace, it's clear Android is still having an effect. Among the US smartphone buyers Nielsen tracked in the three months leading up to July, 58.6 percent went Google's direction. Most of that gain came from BlackBerry owners switching allegiances, which doesn't bode well when RIM is counting on existing owners to fuel BlackBerry 10 demand. We'd be careful about citing a one-point shrink in iPhone sales as a shift in the balance of power, however -- while it could be part of a trend, it could also represent the habitual lull in Apple's sales during the weeks before a major iPhone introduction.