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HTC and Samsung cheer Android for massive growth, while Apple hiccups

Smart phone makers sticking the Android OS on their handsets are posting massive numbers,with HTC and Samsung in particular doing very, very well.

Smart-phone makers using Android are the fastest-growing companies in terms of the number of handsets they're shipping, according to new research from iSuppli. Catching up to Apple is great news for Google, of course, but also developers of Android apps -- and the people who use them. 

HTC led the industry in growth, with smart phone shipments rising by a huge 63.1 per cent in the second quarter (April to June), compared to the first (January to March). Samsung also posted impressive numbers, with its popular Galaxy line of Android phones allowing it to ship 55.6 per cent more handsets in the second quarter than the first.

New players in the Android game Sony Ericsson and Motorola weren't quite so successful, posting 15.4 per cent and 12.5 per cent sequential growth from Q1 to Q2 respectively. They were quite late to the Android party compared to the other two firms, and have struggled to keep their phones' software up to date.

"Every brand that has put effort into designing smart phones using Google's operating system is riding the Android wave," said iSuppli analyst Tina Teng. "From the spectacular growth of HTC and Samsung, to the steady advances of Motorola, Android is the secret sauce for smart phone growth for many companies in 2010."

Apple didn't do as well from April to June, with a four per cent drop in shipments in the fourth quarter. iSuppli explained this was because it was transitioning from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4. The 3GS was reaching the end of the road, causing sales to drop off, while Apple also had trouble keeping up with demand for the iPhone 4.

But JobsCo managed to retain third place in the overall smart phone market share, quite a distance ahead of HTC and behind Nokia and RIM. Both Nokia and RIM showed steady growth and remained first and second in the global smart phone market. Though Nokia has had its troubles in the last year, it still has a massive lead over the competition when it comes to the numbers of phones it ships.

With strong showings for Windows Phone 7 too, it looks like there isn't much stopping HTC and Samsung flogging more and more handsets. Is there anything Apple, Nokia and RIM can do to stem the Android tide?