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Google's Android in 52% of smartphones sold in Q3, report says

Android phones: Motorola Droid Bionic and the Samsung Galaxy S II

Since January, Google's Android has worn the crown as the most widely used smartphone operating system worldwide.

But in the third quarter of the year (July through September), Android ran on an estimated 52.5% of all smartphones sold, "more than doubling its market share from the third quarter of 2010," according to a new study from the Gartner research firm.

There are dozens of Android smartphones from dozens of manufactures on just about every carrier and at every price point imaginable, it seems. And the growth of Android, so far, has no major obstacle in its way.

"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," said Roberta Cozza, Gartner's principal research analyst, in a statement. "Apple's iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone. Continued pressure is impacting RIM's performance, and its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the U.S. market, where it dropped to 10%."

The smartphone market grew 42% year over year in the third quarter, with about 115.2 million handsets sold worldwide, Gartner said. 

The overall cellphone market grew by 5.6% from a year ago with about 440.5 million phones sold, the study said, with smartphones making up 26% of the overall market.

The third quarter marks the first time Android has taken more than 50% of the smartphone market, Gartner said. In the second quarter of the year, Android accounted for 43.4% of all smartphones sold, up from 17.2% a year earlier, the firm said in an earlier study.

Apple's iPhone sales were down slightly, according to Gartner's data, with about 15% of all smartphones sold last quarter being iPhones. In the third quarter of 2010, about 16.6% of smartphones sold were iPhones, Gartner said.

Despite a market share drop, actual sales of the iPhone were up in the third quarter from 13.5 million in 2010 to 17.3 million in 2011, the study said. The firm projected that the iPhone's sales, and possibly its market share, would increase in the final quarter of the year as consumers take to the latest iPhone 4S and the older iPhone 4 and 3GS have had price cuts.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones lost market share in the third quarter to Android as well, dropping to 11% from a 15.4% slice in 2010, Gartner said. Actual sales, however, remained steady between the two quarters, with about 12.7 million BlackBerry phones sold in Q3 2011 and 12.5 million sold in Q3 2010, the study said.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: The Motorola Droid Bionic from Verizon Wireless, left, and the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch from Sprint. Credit: Armand Emamdjomeh/Los Angeles Times

 
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