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Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: Google Android Smartphone Sales Swell

Google Android is seeing a sales surge as it overtakes the Apple iPhone as the top mobile OS, Nielsen has found.

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According to the report, in the second quarter Google Android represented 27 percent of new smartphone purchases in the U.S. That bests the Apple iPhone's 23 percent. The numbers likely don't factor in the Apple iPhone 4 as it hit the market late in the quarter.

"While the iPhone has been the headline grabber over the last few years in the smartphone market, Google's Android OS has shown the most significant expansion in market share among current subscribers," according to the Nielsen blog post. "Android's rise is even more noticeable among new smartphone subscribers in the last six months where Android has nosed past Apple's iOS in the last quarter to grab a 27 percent share of those recent smartphone subscribers."

Android's share of the smartphone OS market has been on a steady climb for users who bought smartphones within the past six months, growing from 6 percent of the new smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2009, to 17 percent in this year's first quarter to the 27 percent in the second quarter of 2010. Meanwhile, Apple's smartphone OS share among new subscribers fell from 34 percent in 2009's fourth quarter, to 27 percent in this year's first quarter and to 23 percent in the second quarter of this year.

While Google Android has surpassed the Apple iPhone, Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry is still the one to beat in terms of new OS sales. According to Nielsen's figures, BlackBerry growth slowed, with sales dipping from 39 percent in 2009's fourth quarter to 36 percent in 2010's first quarter, ultimately dropping to 33 percent in this year's second quarter. Despite the tumble, BlackBerry remains the top dog among new smartphone subscribers.

Overall, however, Android still has a tough hill to climb. In the second quarter of 2010 Android captured 13 percent of the overall smartphone OS market in the U.S., compared to the 28 percent and 35 percent held by the iPhone and BlackBerry, respectively.

And the iPhone is still the most coveted device out there, Nielsen's numbers revealed.

"Among current subscribers thinking of switching devices, the iPhone remains the most desired phone, finding loyalty with nearly 90 percent of current iPhone users and enticing healthy slices of Android users (21 percent) and BlackBerry owners (29 percent) to consider the move to Apple," according to Nielsen. "Android's loyalty among switchers (71 percent) outperforms Blackberry (42 percent) where half of its users could potentially choose an iPhone or an Android phone for their next device."

Still, Android's recent successes and the recent rash of hot Android-based devices, including the Motorola Droid X and the HTC EVO 4G, among myriad others, means Android fever is spreading. And Nielsen isn't the only firm catching on.

A Canalys report released this week also found that Google Android is taking mind and market share. Android-based smartphones saw shipments increase 886 percent in the second quarter of 2010 vs. the second quarter of 2009, the Canalys report indicated. The study said that Android had "impressive momentum," giving it the top spot when it comes to smartphone OS market share in the U.S. Canalys noted that in the U.S. specifically, Google Android shipments jumped 851 percent and represented 34 percent of overall smartphone shipments in the second quarter.

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