At least for AOL, Apple's iPhone is losing clout in the smartphone market, as sales of handsets powered by Google's Android operating system skyrocket.
The web portal on Thursday released a mobile application for Android devices before the iPhone. The AOL app provides easy access to content on AOL's most popular sites, such as PopEater, Engadget and FanHouse. The software also quickly connects to AOL services, such as MapQest and Mail, as well as a list of links to all AOL apps for Android.
In releasing the quick-access application for Android first, AOL is following the rising star in the smartphone market.
"Android has emerged as a top-tier smartphone platform," David Temkin, AOL's new VP of mobile, said in a statement. "So, while we'll continue to focus on development for multiple mobile platforms, this time, we are releasing an early version of an app on Android first -- the AOL app."
AOL's announcement comes a week after Google reported during its earnings call last week that 160,000 Android phones were being activated each day, which is far more than iPhone activations. Indeed, Android phones in the first quarter leapfrogged the iPhone in the first quarter to grab a 28% share of the U.S. smartphone market, according to research firm NPD Group. The iPhone's share stood at 21%, while Research in Motion continued to lead the market with a 36% share.
Nevertheless, the iPhone remains a powerhouse in the U.S. market. The company reported Tuesday that iPhone sales rose 61% in the quarter ended June 26 to 8.4 million units, compared to the same period a year ago. In addition, far more applications from independent developers are available for the iPhone than Android-based phones.
Nevertheless, Android smartphones are flying off the shelves. For example, Verizon Wireless depleted its first batch of Motorola Droid X handsets about a day after the smartphone was made available. Samsung's Galaxy line of Android phones has also been a hot seller.
Along with the new Android app, AOL also released an Android version of its DailyFinance app, which is also available for the iPhone. The application provides stock quotes and financial news and can track up to 25 different stock portfolios.