In the most recent quarter, the Android operating system nabbed an amazing 44% market share in the mobile phone industry. That's about twice the level the iPhone reached, cementing it as the leading cell phone operating system.
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The iOS operating system, which powers all iPhones, took a 23% market share, just a tad over one-half of Android. Research In Motion's Blackberry OS took third place at 22%. Just one quarter ago, that number was 28%. The iPhone was at 22%, meaning actually change there wasn't huge, but for Android it was.
It seems to nicely mold the story that's been told all year long - iPhone sales remain strong but without any huge growth, Android is leap-frogging ahead, and Blackberry is finding itself in a black hole.
Research group NPD, which reported the results, said it all has to do with carrier availability. The iPhone family is a good set of devices but it's only available in the US through AT&T. So is the new Blackberry Torch for what it's worth, although that phone has been getting slammed as mediocre in its critical reviews.
"A big part of Android success is its carrier distribution. Once it got to the Verizon and Sprint customer bases, with their mature 3G networks, that's when we started to see it take off," wrote NPD executive director Ross Rubin.
And at this point, it's really a runaway train. No one is really making a run from behind to catch up with it. However, the iPhone will assumedly go multi-carrier next year, beginning with Verizon. Although not official, it's widely assumed a Verizon iPhone will be available in January. That could shake things up and set a path for a whole new mobile story in 2011.