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iPhone 4S is helping Apple close the gap on Android

Although Apple’s iOS has gained back losses in the most recent quarter, when it comes to smartphone operating systems, Android still owns the U.S. market. This is according to research conducted by Nielsen.

According to Nielsen, Apple’s high-profile launch of the  iPhone 4S in the Fall had an enormous impact on the balance of smartphone owners who chose an Apple iPhone. Among recent acquirers, meaning those who said they got a new device within the past three months, 44.5 percent of those surveyed in December said they chose an iPhone, compared to just 25.1 percent in October. Furthermore, 57 percent of new iPhone owners surveyed in December said they got an iPhone 4S.

With 46.3 percent surveyed in the 4th quarter of 2011, Android still holds the lead among all smartphone users.

A quick look at the rest of the field shows Blackberry’s RIM at 14.9% of the market, Windows Phone 7 1.3%, Nokia’s Symbian and HP’s webOS both earned 1.4% of the market.

Looking at a comparison of smartphones to feature phones in the U.S. market shows smartphones have grown to 46% of the market. This rate is accelerating. Nielsen said “60% of those who said they got a new device within the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone.”