It's Unanimous: Google Android The Real Deal

Don't believe The Nielsen Co. or Canalys when they say that Google Android is becoming the mobile operating system to beat and that the Apple iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry offerings should be shaking in their shoes?

Well, add The NPD Group to the fold of folks hyping up Google Android as the OS to beat in the U.S.

According to the Port Washington, N.Y. market research firm, Google Android is now installed on one of every three smartphones sold at retail in the U.S.

NPD credits the recent releases of a host of hot new Android-based smartphones from the likes of Motorola and HTC with fueling the flames of Google's Android success.

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"Riding the wave of new handset introductions and wide carrier distribution in the second quarter, the Android smartphone operating system continued its upward climb in the U.S. consumer mobile phone market," The NPD Group said in a statement.

NPD's latest research found that Android accounted for 33 percent of all smartphones bought in the second quarter, beating out BlackBerry and the iPhone, which raked in 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively. NPD noted that 2010's second quarter makes the first time since the fourth quarter of 2007 that RIM played second fiddle and didn't hold the No. 1 among operating systems in handsets sold to U.S. consumers.

"For the second consecutive quarter, Android handsets have shown strong but slowing sell-through market share gains among U.S. consumers," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD, in a statement on The NPD Group's Web site. "While the Google-developed OS took market share from RIM, Appleā€™s iOS saw a small gain this quarter on the strength of the iPhone 4 launch."

The top five Google Android smartphones helped propel sales of the operating system. NPD identified the top 5 Android phones in the second quarter as the Motorola Droid, the HTC Droid Incredible, the HTC EVO 4G, the HTC Hero and the HTC Droid Eris.

And The NPD Group expects Android to continue its domination, despite RIM's recent high profile unveiling of the BlackBerry 6 operating system and the BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone.

"BlackBerry 6 will soon offer features that have been popular in recently launched Android handsets, such as support for capacitive touch-screens and a WebKit-based browser. However, the BlackBerry Torch lacks the large screen allure that has characterized the best selling Android devices at its price point, including the Droid Incredible and EVO 4G," Rubin said.

The NPD Group's validation of Google Android comes after a whirlwind week for the open-source operating system, which has been on the market for less than two years.

Earlier this week, both The Nielsen Co. and research firm Canalys noted that Google Android is currently showing stronger growth than the Apple iPhone and RIM's line of BlackBerry smartphones.

Nielsen's research revealed that 27 percent of people who bought a smartphone over the six months that ended in June picked Android, while 23 percent went with the iPhone. Meanwhile, the Canalys study found that Google Android-based smartphone shipments skyrocketed by 886 percent in the second quarter of 2010 versus the second quarter last year. That study also found that in the U.S., Android shipments jumped 851 percent and represented 34 percent of overall smartphone shipments in the second quarter.