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Apple and Android big winners in smartphone surge

Almost half the world’s smartphones are running Google’s Android operating system, according to a new report by research firm Canalys. Apple’s iOS, which powers the iPhone, was a distant second with 20 percent of the global market.

“Of the 56 countries Canalys tracks around the world, Android led in 35 of them and achieved a global market share of 48 percent,” the firm said in a statement. “Android, the number one platform by shipments since Q4 2010, was also the strongest growth driver this quarter, with Android-based smart phone shipments up 379% over a year ago to 51.9 million units.”

Overall, the global smartphone marker grew by 73 percent, with a total of over 107 million units shipping in the second quarter of 2011 alone.

Demand for Android-powered smartphones was also strong in the U.S. market, according to numbers released last week by Nielsen. Android phones had a 39 percent market share, followed by Apple iOS at 28 percent, and RIM’s BlackBerry phones in third place at 20 percent.

Despite Apple’s second place showing, its executives in Cupertino shouldn’t feel too bad. Android smartphone sales are spread across several manufacturers, leaving the iPhone as easily the most popular smartphone model in both the global and domestic markets.

Perhaps  more surprising was the advance made by Taiwanese company HTC, which tied with BlackBerry as the second most popular smartphone manufacturer once its sales of both Android and Windows Phone 7 devices were included.

Demand for the iconic iPhone shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, analyst firm Piper Jaffray this week released results of a survey that suggests Apple’s share of the domestic market could double once the next-generation iPhone 5 comes on stream later this year.

The pent-up demand is particularly strong among Verizon and AT&T customers who don’t presently own an iPhone. (Verizon and AT&T are the only carriers that service the iPhone.) Fully 55 percent of non-iPhone Verizon subscribers said they expected to buy the iPhone 5 once it became available. The equivalent number for AT&T customers was only slightly lower at 53 percent.

In typical Apple fashion, there is no word on exactly when the iPhone 5 will go on sale, with most observers now suggesting sometime in October. If that turns out to be the case, expect a 4th quarter frenzy, as the unprecedented pent-up demand combines with an always-strong holiday buying season.

Are you planning on buying a smartphone? If so, which model will you choose and why? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!

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