Android is world's second most popular smart phone OS, catching Symbian fast

Android's spectacular growth this year means it has become the world's second most popular mobile OS, selling by the bucketload and catching up to Symbian.

Android's incredible year continues, with sales from July to September making Android the world's second most popular smart phone OS, catching up fast to Symbian in the number one spot.

Android has cornered a quarter (25.5 per cent) of the world's smart phone market, according to a worldwide smart phone sales report. It rocketed past iOS and BlackBerry in third and fourth, and now follows close behind Symbian, which took out a 36.6-per-cent market share. The results continue the trend we saw in a previous Gartner report that analysed sales from April to June.

To put this into perspective, this time last year, Android's market share was at 3.5 per cent, while Symbian's was at 44.6 per cent. If this pattern continues, it won't be long before Android takes the highly coveted title of most popular smart phone OS.

If you simply browse the smart phones available at any store, the reasons for this are pretty obvious. Companies like Sony Ericsson, HTC, Motorola and Samsung have completely switched their focus to Android. They've turned away from Symbian, releasing Android handsets at high and low price points, from the costly HTC Desire HD to the cheap-as-chips Orange San Francisco.

The Android OS is also constantly being updated, which keeps the platform fresh. On the other hand, Symbian's troubles have been well documented. Nokia is the only major smart phone firm committed to the platform, with the Symbian Foundation disbanding after funding was removed by firms like Sony Ericsson and Samsung, who have since defected to Android.

Apple hasn't really been affected by Android's growth, as its market share remained steady at 16.7 per cent compared to 17.1 per cent last year. This shows the immense success of iPhone sales yet again, in spite of loads more competition.

But it wasn't good news for RIM, with its market share falling from 20.7 per cent to 14.8 per cent, meaning Apple's iOS has overtaken BlackBerry to become the world's third most popular OS.

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