US consumers snapping up Android phones: survey

Smartphones powered by Google's Android software were the most popular among US consumers over the past six months ahead of the Blackberry and Apple's iPhone, the Nielsen Co. said on Tuesday.

Thirty-two percent of new smartphone buyers in the United States purchased a handset running Android during the period, Nielsen said.

Twenty-six percent chose the Blackberry operating system from Canada's Research in Motion and 25 percent chose the iPhone, Nielsen said.

Nielsen said that among all US smartphone owners, Blackberry remains the leader with a 31 percent share of the market followed by the iPhone with a 28 percent share and Android with 19 percent, up from eight percent in January.

Blackberry's market share has fallen from 36 percent in January to its current 31 percent while the iPhone's has remained steady.

Technology research firm Gartner said last month that Android will become the number two mobile operating system worldwide this year, leapfrogging BlackBerry and challenging market leader Nokia's Symbian by 2014.

Gartner said Symbian and Android will account for 59.8 percent of mobile operating system sales by 2014.

Gartner said it expected handset manufacturers such as Samsung to launch a number of budget devices in the second half of the year using Android, and for other players such as Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola to follow suit.

"This trend should help Android become the top OS in North America by the end of 2010," Gartner said.

Skype announced meanwhile that it was making its Internet communications service available for some Android-powered phones including HTC and Motorola devices.

It said a Skype application that can be downloaded at skype.com/m will allow free Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messaging.

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