Android, at 39%, is OS No. 1 in the U.S. But Apple, with 28%, is the No. 1 manufacturer

Click to enlarge. Source: Nielsen

If you’re having trouble interpreting the chart of the U.S. smartphone market released Thursday by Nielsen, think of it as a brownie pan, a spokesman helpfully suggests, not a pie.

And depending how you slice the brownies, Apple  AAPL  is either No. 2 or No. 1 in the U.S.

When all the Android phones are combined, Google’s GOOG smartphone operating system is the clear leader. But because so many manufacturers are competing for a share of the Android brownie, and only Apple can make an iPhone, Apple is America’s leading smartphone manufacturer. By a chewy mouthful.

The details (based on a survey of 20,202 Americans in Q2 2011):

  • Android has 39% of the U.S. market
  • The iPhone has 28% (iPads and iPod touches not included)
  • Research in Motion’s RIMM BlackBerry is down to 20%
  • HTC is tied with RIM at 20%, divided between Android (14%) and various Microsoft MSFT Windows smartphones (6%)
  • Motorola MOT is down to 11%
  • Samsung has 10%, divided between Android (8%) and Windows (2%)
  • Nokia NOK and Palm HPQ are those thin slices on the right with 2% apiece