November 3, 2010, 3:49 PM

Usual suspects continue to lose ground to Android

Google’s popular mobile platform now owns 21.4% of smartphone user market.

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BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Palm continue to bleed in the smartphone platform battle as Android steadily gains ground, new data show.

For the three months ending in September, 21.4% of smartphone owners used a phone with Google Inc.’s Android operating system, up 6.5 percentage points from 14.9% for the three months ending in June, according to research firm comScore Inc. Apple Inc.’s iOS platform (used on the iPhone) edged out Android, staying flat at 24.3%.

BlackBerry users represented 37.3% of smartphone users for the three months ending in September, down 2.8 percentage points from 40.1% in the preceding period, comScore finds. This is a considerable decrease from BlackBerry’s halcyon days when it had well over half of the smartphone market locked up, largely a product of its popularity among corporations whose on-the-go employees accounted for many of the early smartphone users.

Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile platform accounted for 10% of smartphone users, down 2.percentage points from 12.8%. Microsoft is hoping to finally make some headway in the smartphone market with its introduction next week of the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

And now bit player Palm is down to only 4.2% of smartphone owners, down half a percentage point from 4.7%.

Most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers, however, as the smartphone market overall continues to grow, comScore notes.

Most retailers with mobile apps have a version for the iPhone, and then one for Android. This is because users of mobile devices with these operating systems are the heaviest users of the mobile web, and the most likely to download and use apps. BlackBerry owners continue to be predominantly business users who focus on e-mail and similar tasks.

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