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BlackBerry suffers double hit: Android and iPhone take leads in the third quarter

In the smart-phone market, BlackBerrys got squeezed last quarter.

Google Inc.'s Android overtook Research in Motion's BlackBerry as an operating system in the third quarter, and Apple Inc.'s iPhone surpassed the corporate stalwart as a handset, according to a report on U.S. sales by market research company NPD Group.

The Android operating system, which runs on nearly 100 separate devices, was in 44% of the phones bought during the quarter, NPD said. Apple’s iPhone was well behind, at 26.2%, while RIM's BlackBerry phones fell to 22% in the third quarter from 28% of units sold in the second quarter.

In last year's third quarter, Android’s operating system was in only 3% of phones, while RIM's system held sway in 46% of the market, according to NPD.

Apple also is taking a bite out of BlackBerry by selling 14 million phones in the third quarter, compared with 12 million by RIM.

Of the nation's five best-selling handsets, the iPhone unseated the BlackBerry Curve 8500 as No. 1 during the third quarter, with LG Cosmos coming in third. Two popular Android phones, the Motorola Droid X and the HTC EVO 04, ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

Michael Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, a global capital markets research company, said that Apple's and Android’s successes come down to more phone applications and greater support from AT&T and Verizon. When the iPhone 4 becomes available for Verizon users in the first quarter of 2011, it could dent Android’s popularity, he said.

“I think when it becomes more accessible, quite a few consumers will switch to the iPhone and potentially slow down the growth of Android phones,” Walkley said.

-- Nate Jackson

 
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