Android Approaches 45% Share Before iPhone 4S Effect

Google's Android operating system jumped a percentage point from August to September, while Apple iOS remained mostly flat, waiting for the iPhone 4S lift-off, according to comScore.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system grabbed 44.8 percent market share through September, up from 43.7 percent share as it increased its lead in the U.S. smartphone market.

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone took 27.4 percent share, up from 27.3 percent in August, according to comScore. iOS should show an uptick in iOS gains after October and November, when sales of the new iPhone 4S are counted.

Apple began selling that phone, which has an 8-megapixel camera, faster processor and the Siri personal assistant, Oct. 14 in several countries worldwide. It will be interesting to see whether iPhone 4S sales have a deleterious effect on Android handset sales through the holiday season.

Research In Motion's (NYSE:RIM) stake in the market dipped to 18.9 percent in September, from 19.7 percent in August, as the Canadian phone maker's new BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 smartphones failed to cease its slide in the market. The company's subscriber numbers may only drop after a major outage shook the company in October.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Mobile/Phone 7 share also fell, to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent through August. The software maker, which is urgently trying to make headway versus Android and iPhone gadgets in the market, expects sales of its Windows Phone "Mango" platform to lift the company's flagging market share this holiday season.

comScore said over 234 million Americans used mobile devices through August, with Samsung accounting for 25.3 percent of the U.S. subscriber share. LG and Motorola followed with 20.6 percent share and 13.8 percent share, respectively. Apple stood at 10.2 percent, while RIM notched 7.1 percent in the U.S.

Of those 234 million U.S. users using phones, 87.4 million used smartphones, up from 85.5 million through August and up from 82 million in July.

That shows that there are plenty of more selling opportunities for platform and handset makers to reach consumers. OEMs can make and ship an array of low-cost to midrange and premium phones to find homes with millions of more users.

comScore numbers come one day after Nielsen said Android accounted for 43 percent market share for the third quarter, with iOS topping out at 27 percent. The researcher also found that of the 43 percent of all U.S. mobile phone users that own a smartphone, nearly 54 percent are aged 18 to 24 and 35 to 44.