Android Beats Apple In Smartphone Battle

Android-powered smartphones continue to grab market share from all other competitors, including the iPhone, and are now used for a quarter of all mobile web consumption in the US.

The August 2010 Mobile OS Share report from research firm Quantcast shows that Android's market share has risen from 10 per cent in November 2009 to 25 per cent in August 2010.

Android's growth is mirrored almost exactly by a falling off in the dominance of Apple's iOS, which dropped from 67 per cent in May 2009 to its current 56 per cent.

RIM's BlackBerry fell from 12 per cent to nine per cent during the tracked period, while other operators hold 10 per cent of the market.

Jim Morrish, mobile content and applications principal analyst at Analysys Mason, said that the figures highlight the exceptional popularity of the Android platform.

"In many regions there is enormous potential for further growth of Android platforms, especially as sub-£100 devices enter the market to meet the demand from areas like Asia Pacific," he said.

"Not everyone will be able to afford an iPhone running into many hundreds of pounds, so Android devices could prove popular."

However, Morrish believes that Android could run into difficulties around security, device fragmentation and Google's control of the platform's code base.

"Many applications on the Android store are not verified to the same degree as on the Apple store, meaning that malware can be submitted in simple applications that then steal users' data remotely," he warned.

"Similarly, with so many devices running Android on a wealth of handset models with different screen sizes, resolution and functionality, as well as tablet products, managing platform updates will become ever more difficult."

Manufacturers and network operators could also become wary of Google's control of the code, as the firm could bring out updates that render applications developed for one set of code suddenly unworkable.

Nokia, meanwhile, is barely represented in the Quantcast figures, but Morrish believes that many Nokia customers are not using their handsets' web capabilities.

"Given Nokia's total market share, it's clear from the low figures that lots of customers are not accessing the web on their devices. Nokia is working hard to fix this issue by trying to make its phones more user friendly," he said.

The US figures mirror other reports showing the growing take-up of Android as it challenges the iPhone.

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