Google Android Smartphones Race to Catch Apple iPhone

Google's Android platform came on strong in August, notching a 25 percent smartphone operating system plot, said data firm Quantcast. Apple retains the lead in the U.S. with 56 percent.

Apple's iPhone iOS continued to lead the U.S. smartphone operating system ecosystem at 56 percent market share in August, but Google's Android platform came on strong, notching a 25 percent plot, said data firm Quantcast.

Apple said it is shipping 230,000 iOS-based devices per day. Apple's iOS share was also buoyed from selling 1.7 million iPhone 4 units in its first three days on the market.

Despite disparagement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that Google was counting upgrades when it claimed 200,000 Android handsets were shipping each day, Android sucked up OS market share from Apple, RIM's BlackBerry OS and other platforms.

Quantcast also found that Android began 2010 with 18.6 percent smartphone OS market share and managed to take 11.4 percent share from Apple's iOS, 1.6 percent from RIM's BlackBerry and 5.7 percent from all other OS providers, such as Microsoft Windows Mobile and Palm's WebOS.

Who is the beneficiary of the uptick in Android smartphones? Carriers, of course. Quantcast, which offers the OS breakdowns in these charts, said it will break down market share by carriers this week.

However, one need only look at the smartphones selling out at Verizon Wireless and Sprint to grok the demand.

Android, which is now in Version 2.2, has arguably been popularized on such smartphones as Verizon's Motorola Droid, Droid 2, HTC Droid Incredible and the hard-to-get Motorola Droid X.

While Verizon Wireless declines to offer numbers of smartphone units it sells, Samsung said it has sold more than 1 million Galaxy S Android handsets on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile networks.

The company expects to sell some 25 million handsets in the third quarter of this year, many of them the Galaxy S Android units, which are launching on Sprint and Verizon Wireless this month.

T-Mobile has the G2 coming out soon, and most smartphone makers not named Apple or RIM are putting out some flavor of Android device.

Most Android devices won't be huge hits; carriers and Google only need a few to burn brightly, and the collective mass of Android smartphones will pad the numbers.

Now it just remains to be seen how Oracle's infringement lawsuit against Google will affect Android momentum.