Google's (GOOG) Android mobile operating system is now more popular than Apple's (AAPL) iPhone OS and Research In Motion's (RIMM) Blackberry OS among recent smartphone buyers, according to new data from market research firm Nielsen.
Among those who purchased a new smartphone within the six months prior to August, 32% of buyers bought Android-based phones, while 26% bought Blackberrys and 25% bought iPhones. In another words, nearly one in three smartphones sold over the last six months runs on Android.
The new data are further evidence of the astonishing rise of Android devices. Just one year ago, Android was barely a blip in the smartphone market. The operating system's performance represents a dramatic -- and ongoing -- victory for Google, which has made it clear that it views mobile advertising as its next frontier of revenue generation.
Among all smartphone owners, including those who purchased a device more than six months ago, Blackberry remains in the lead, with 31% market share, but that number is down from a high of 37% in February 2010. Apple's iPhone remains in second place with 28% market share, which is about where it has stood for the last 6 months.
Android is in third place among all smartphone owners, with 19% of the market, up from just 8% in January. It's clear that Android's gains have come largely at the expense of the Blackberry, while Apple's iPhone has remained steady.