Android most popular in recent sales, but third in overall share

Android is the most popular mobile operating system among consumers who bought a smartphone in the past six months

Android is the most popular mobile operating system among consumers who bought a smartphone in the past six months, according to new research from Nielsen.

BlackBerry RIM and Apple's iOS "are in a statistical dead heat for second place among recent acquirers," the Nielsen Company said.

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"Among all smartphone owners, Blackberry still holds the dominant share with 31 per cent of the market, though its lead over Apple is declining," Nielsen continued in a report issued Tuesday. "28 per cent of smartphone owners have Apple iPhones, compared to 19 per cent who have Android devices."

Android's surge in 2010 has been impressive. In January, only 14 per cent of recent acquirers were choosing Android. Now that number is 32 per cent.

Meanwhile, the share of recent acquirers who chose BlackBerry has dropped from 34 per cent to 25 per cent, and the share of recent acquirers who chose the iPhone dropped from 32 per cent to 26 per cent.

In terms of overall market share, BlackBerry has dropped from 36 per cent to 31 per cent since January, and the iPhone has dropped only slightly from 29 per cent to 28 per cent.

Android's surge is therefore taking a bigger chunk of market share away from BlackBerry than it is from Apple. Android's total market share has more than doubled since January, moving from eight per cent to 19 per cent.

Nielsen's report is just the latest in a string that shows Android is on pace to become the industry's most popular smartphone platform.

Android has matched the iPhone in overall consumer interest, according to ChangeWave. ChangeWave also surveyed corporate IT buyers, and found that while BlackBerry still dominates in the business world, the proportion of IT departments providing Android has jumped from three per cent to 16 per cent since November.

Gartner has reported that Android will surpass BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone in all of 2010, potentially making it the best-selling platform worldwide behind Nokia's Symbian, which is widely used overseas.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

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