During the six months ending in August, the number of people who bought Android smartphones increased steadily, culminating in 32% buying the devices in August, Nielsen reported Tuesday. The BlackBerry and Apple iPhone in the last month of the period were at a statistical tie at 26% and 25%, respectively.
RIM's and Apple's OSes are proprietary software used only in the companies' respective devices. Android, on the other hand, is used by a variety of manufacturers, such as Motorola, Samsung, HTC and others.
In looking at the share of each OS in the total market, Nielsen found that the BlackBerry OS continued to lead with 31% at the end of August, followed by iOS at 28%. However, while the BlackBerry OS has declined in share from 36% in January and iOS has remained steady, Android has climbed from 8% to 19%, Nielsen found.
Nielsen is not alone in reporting Android's rapid gain in market share. Researcher Gartner this month reported that Android and Nokia Symbian would be the dominant operating systems in the global smartphone market by 2014, with Android being close to No. 1. In four years, Symbian and Android will have a 30.2% and 29.6% share, respectively, Gartner predicted. Apple's iOS will have a 14.9% share.
Gartner rival IDC also found that Symbian would lead the global smartphone market in 2014 with a 32.9% share, followed by Android, 24.6%. Microsoft's Windows Mobile, which is being renamed Windows Phone 7, is expected to regain some of the share it has lost over the last two years, while BlackBerry's share remains relatively constant and Apple's iOS declines gradually, IDC said.