android_logo.gifResearch conducted in the US by research outfit NPD Group has concluded that the Android smartphone operating system now holds a leading share of consumer sales, suggesting that the Google-backed OS is now becoming a market fixture.

Android-enabled smartphones accounted for just over a third of all devices shifted in the States during calendar Q2, according to NPD, and pushed RIM into second place for the first time since 2007, while Apple's iPhone trailed in third place with 22% of the market.

Based on total sales, Motorola's Droid was the bestselling unit during the quarter, said NPD with the HTC Droid Incredible in second place. The top five was rounded out by three other HTC devices, the Evo 4G, Hero and Droid Eris.

Figures from analysts at Neilsen, meanwhile, backed up NPD's findings, although they placed Android third in the market there among recent subscribers, there was no doubting its phenomenal growth, from 6% US marketshare at the end of 2009 to 27% now.

I don't think these findings are that earth-shattering; it stands to reason that a system run by multiple manufacturers will eventually start to outsell systems that are exclusive to one family of devices, such as Apple's iOS.

But I do believe this is an important moment for Android, and marks a key juncture in its history; it is starting to go mainstream.

And don't forget that competitive benefits of a major new OS is one that should make mobility dealers start salivating.

If the effect of the iPhone on the business community is anything to go by, we may shortly see a trickle-down effect as consumers begin to bring their Android devices into the business environment, and if ICT buyers cotton on then we should see some really explosive growth.

This was first published in August 2010

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