The latest survey from a respected research firm has Android as the #1 smartphone platform in the US for the month of March. Nielsen reported this morning that Android tops the charts as the country’s leading smartphone platform with a 27.9 percent market share measured by units, followed by the iOS platform which grabbed 27 percent market share. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry came in third with 22 percent of the market.

Just six months ago iOS led the pack with 27.9 percent of the smartphone market, followed by RIM (27.4 percent) and Android (22.7 percent). Some 31.1 percent respondents planned on buying an Android phone in March versus a 30 percent inclination towards iPhones. That’s also an increase for Android from a 25.5 percent preference and a drop for the iPhone from 32.7 percent, both six months ago. And now, the good news…

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Despite Android’s lead stemming from a rich assortment of devices in different shapes, sizes and price points sold by dozens of carriers around the world, iOS is still the platform of choice for app developers. According to another survey of 2,760 developers by Appcelerator, they remain strongly attracted to iOS as “fragmentation and tepid interest in current Android tablets chip away at Google’s recent momentum gains”. About two thirds of polled developers think it’s game over for other platforms, namely RIM, Nokia, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Nearly the same proportion of respondents cited Android fragmentation as the biggest hurdle for the platform.

A whopping 91 percent are “very interested” in writing apps for the iPhone (86 percent for the iPad) versus 85 percent for Android phones (71 percent for Android tablets).

Despite Android’s lead, if I may add, Apple still controls about half the profits for the entire cellphone industry. That being said, it’s no wonder developers are shifting away from Android towards iOS. As I argued before, Android people reluctantly buy apps. The reasons are many, such as Android’s emphasis on ad-supported models and lower-quality apps in general. This tweet that sums it up best:

Room with 60 students. 40 have Android, 20 have iPhone. None of the Androids have ever bought a paid app. Almost all of the iPhones did.

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