Android Tops iPhone Among New Smartphone Users: Nielsen

Google Android smartphones outsold RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS in 2010, said Nielsen. Lawsuits by Apple, Microsoft and Oracle are geared to check Android's growth.

Android handsets have been the hottest selling smartphones in 2010, comprising 32 percent of all smartphones sold in the last sixth months, according to new statistics from The Nielsen Company.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform and Apple's iPhone trailed Google's platform from January 2010 through August 2010, with 26 percent and 25 percent of the total market, respectively.

Nielsen is careful to point out the data includes one full month of sales of iPhone 4, which launched in late June.

Overall, Android's presence isn't nearly as ubiquitous. BlackBerry commands 31 percent of the total U.S. smartphone market, followed by Apple with 28 percent and Android with 19 percent.

Nielsen's data is the latest addition to the carousel that has become researchers' calculation of mobile platform market share, the recurring theme of which is Android's rise to power versus BlackBerry and iOS.

IDC said last week 58.6 percent of developers said they think Android's long-term outlook is brighter than iOS, compared with 34.9 percent who rank iOS's future prospects greater than Android's.

However, most developers agree that iPhone is the best platform on which to sell apps, given its greater worldwide support for paid apps.

Prior to the IDC report, comScore said Android grew its U.S. smartphone market share from 12 percent to 17 percent in the three-month period ending in July.

One week before that Gartner said Android will become the No. 2 mobile operating system in the world behind Symbian, edging past RIM and iOS in 2010.

The number-wielding game doesn't end with the third-party and impartial researchers. Each vendor has its own numbers it likes to polish on a regular basis.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has repeatedly claimed more than 200,000 Android devices, mostly handsets, are being activated each day.

Countering Schmidt, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said it is activating more than 230,000 iOS devices each day.

In total, Apple has seen more than 120 million devices with iOS, including iPhone, the iPad tablet and iPod touch Web browsing device, have been activated.

Still, the consensus is that Android has outsold iPhone in 2010. Whether that continues in the face of the patent and copyright infringement lawsuits filed by Apple, Oracle and Microsoft to stymie Android is another matter.

One trend is clear amid the numbers disparities: Both iPhone and Android are the popular developer platforms in then near term and for the foreseeable future.