Google says 300,000 Android phones activated daily

More than 300,000 smartphones running on Google-backed Android software are activated daily, according to an engineering vice president at the Internet giant.

Andy Rubin fired off the update in a terse "tweet" at microblogging service Twitter late Wednesday.

The news indicates that Android smartphones are building momentum in the hot mobile market, where just a few months ago Google boasted that the rate of Android handset activations averaged 200,000 a day.

Google is fueling interest in Android devices with the release next week of a new champion on the mobile phone market battlefield, a "Nexus S" smartphone made by South Korea's Samsung.

The Nexus S, the successor to the Nexus One launched about a year earlier, will be the first smartphone on the market powered by the latest version of Android mobile software, "Gingerbread."

The Android mobile operating system surged past Apple's iPhone and Canada's BlackBerry in the third quarter to become the second biggest smartphone platform after Nokia's Symbian, research firm Gartner reported in November.

Gartner said Finland's Nokia sold 29.5 million smartphones during the third quarter of the year for a 36.6 percent share of the worldwide market, down from 44.6 percent a year ago.

Sales of Android-powered smartphones soared to 20.5 million units, giving the Android platform a 25.5 percent market share, up from just 3.5 percent a year ago, Gartner said.

Apple's iPhone was next on sales of 13.5 million units for a 16.7 percent market share, down from 17.1 percent a year ago.

Canada's Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, was in fourth position with sales of 11.9 million units. Its market share dropped to 14.8 percent from 20.7 percent a year ago.

Microsoft's Windows Mobile saw sales of 2.2 million units giving it a 2.8 percent market share, down from 7.9 percent a year ago, Gartner said.

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