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A new research by Nielsen shows that 54.9 percent of American mobile users own smartphones. It is due to the growing popularity of smartphones among users. In the second quarter of 2012 (April-June), two out of every three new mobile devices sold in America were smartphones.

The global economic uncertainty hasn’t affected smartphones sales at all. Instead, Apple and Samsung have been recording strong growth quarter after quarter. 45 percent Americans don’t own a smartphone yet; that represents a huge opportunity for manufacturers. “People are going to buy them, despite whatever is happening with the economy,” says Chris Silva, a mobile analyst with The Altimeter Group. “They are so important in people’s lives, and the pace at which this is growing, we’re not even at the point where it’s slowing down.”

The biggest winner in this race is Google Android, which supports 51.8 percent of the smartphones in the US market. Nielsen reports that 34.3 percent of smartphone users have Apple iPhone OS, and Blackberry represents another 8.1 percent.

Overall, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the largest smartphone manufacturer, followed by Samsung which uses Android OS. Other leading manufacturers of Android smartphones are HTC Corp (TPE:2498) and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (NYSE:MMI).

However, the once popular cell phone producers like Nokia, RIM and HTC are finding it hard to keep pace with the changing consumer preferences. It is predicted that their sales will continue to decline in the second half of 2012. While Apple and Samsung continue to lead the market with their iPhone and Galaxy series, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has been struggling in the flood of smartphones. Though Nokia has a connection with Microsoft’s Windows platform, it hasn’t helped the company much. Now all its hopes are centered around the upcoming Windows 8 platform.

RIM sales are also sliding, but the company won’t give up yet. It’s been reported that RIM is spending over a billion dollars to develop and promote its highly anticipated device, BlackBerry 10, which is expected to hit the market by the first quarter of 2013.

In this fast changing mobile phone market, it is hard to predict which companies will dominate the market in the years to come and which ones will vanish. Let’s wait and watch