1 in 2 Americans Will Have a Smartphone by Christmas 2011

If you’re not ready to bid farewell to the feature phone just yet, you might want to start preparing your goodbyes. Nielsen today estimates that by the end of 2011, smartphones will overtake feature phones in the U.S.. One in two Americans will have a smartphone by Christmas of that year, Nielsen forecasts, compared to just one in 10 in the summer of 2008. I blame the iPhone, but there are plenty of culprits to point out — superphones packed with with more features than you can fit in a stocking over the fireplace.

According to the data, it took six quarters for the U.S. smartphone market share to double, moving to 21 percent of handsets sold from just 10 percent in early 2008. Nielsen expects acceleration of that growth rate due, which makes sense due to increased application availability, better native features and the declining prices for smartphone devices. These more capable devices are sure to increase the demand for mobile broadband infrastructure, but U.S. carriers ought to be happy with this situation. Mobile broadband plans for smartphones help generate higher ARPU through the data service, which offsets decreased ARPUs on the voice side.