Nielsen's been busy reporting on the shifting sands of the mobile market. Last time, the researcher found that new smartphone buyers were most interested in handsets featuring Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android operating system. This time, Nielsen is telling us why.

"Texting is currently the centerpiece of mobile teen behavior," Nielsen reports in a blog post. "43 percent claim it is their primary reason for getting a cellphone, which explains why QWERTY input is the first thing they look for [when] choosing their devices."


 

Source: The Nielsen Company.

More than safety or convenience, texting is what attracts teens to converged devices, and judging by Nielsen's findings, teens are much more likely to buy Motorola's (NYSE: MOT) Droid than they are Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone, because the Droid is blessed with a keyboard. You can scoff at the idea of some Android phone's inclusion of a keyboard as a differentiator, but there's data to back this up. Nielsen's research says that Android users tend to skew younger.

Perhaps Android Thumb will succeed BlackBerry Thumb as the malady of choice for mobile addicts?

Teen titans
Maybe, but for all my joking, these findings aren't to be taken lightly. According to data cited in Direct Marketing News from researcher Packaged Facts, American teens control $208 billion in buying power, and most of that amount is disposable income available for purchasing gadgetry.

To be fair, Apple attracts plenty of younger buyers with its game-friendly iPod touch, which the Mac maker positions as a gateway gadget for the iPhone. That's a logical bet that will take years to pay off, and it should eventually. But for now, America's youth is still in love with a robot.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you think the rise of texting hurts the iPhone's growth opportunity? Please vote in the poll below, and then leave a comment to explain your thinking. And if you're interested in Apple, add it to your Foolish watchlist.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is off for a morning run.