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Droid Pro Underlines Google Android's Power

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- The Droid Pro and Citrus smartphones aren't just new Verizon (VZ - Get Report) and Motorola (MOT) tech toys, but the latest additions to to Google (GOOG) Android's dogpile of dominance.

For those taking a '90s-style Rip Van Winkle snooze in Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry bushes or too worried about holding Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone 4 correctly to notice, Android has put some serious hurt on its fruit-flavored friends' market share. The latest accolades came courtesy of ComScore (SCOR), which noted that RIM (-4.1), Apple (-0.2), Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) (-2.4) and the dessicated corpse of Palm (PALM) (-0.2) all lost smartphone market share last quarter that Android was more than happy to pick up. With a 6.6 percentage point increase from the second quarter, Android now holds 19.6% of the market to Apple's 24.4% and RIM's 37.6%.

Google Android
Google's hardware partnerships are helping its Android smartphone operating system dominate market share.

That's just off of Nielsen's announcement earlier this week that Android phones accounted for nearly a third of all smartphones sold in the past six months, with 26% buying BlackBerry devices and 24% buying Apple. That includes a second quarter in which NPD Group found that Android dropped RIM to second place in sales for the first time since late 2007 by accounting for 33% of all smartphones bought, compared with RIM's 28% and Apple's 22%.

That wasn't even the good news for Google, as the Nielsen report added that 37% of potential smartphone buyers planned to buy an Android phone within the next six months. They'll have a bunch to choose from, as Acer, Dell (DELL), Garmin (GRMN), HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Pantech, Samsung and Sony (SNE) continue to produce devices featuring the Android OS. That's not including such e-readers as Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook or tablets proposed by Cisco (CSCO), Philips, Sharp and Toshiba.

That growth isn't confined to the U.S. by any means, as figures from Gartner (IT) show Android grew from 1.8% global market share in August 2009 to a nearly 18% share today -- good enough for second in the world. Gartner also predicts that Android will challenge Nokia's (NOK) Symbian platform for world dominance by 2014, with both operating systems slated to support nearly 70% of the world's smartphones by that time.

Where does that leave Apple's iOS? In Google's rearview, as iSuppli predicts Android will account for 19.4% of global smartphone market share by 2012 as the iPhone trails at 15.9%. Why? Because for Android every month -- or even every few weeks -- yields its equivalent of an iPhone launch. Multiple original equipment manufacturing partners allow Google to hammer away at proprietary offerings from RIM and Apple all year long, to the benefit of Google and the company it keeps.

Hardware sales are only part of the story, as Android is a sizable and growing part of a mobile market in which Gartner expects mobile applications alone to account for $29 billion in global revenue by 2013. Google just expanded app sales to 20 countries, making its developers' products available in 29 combined. Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN) is rumored to be launching its own Android apps store in addition to Google's Android Market.

So let the Droid Pro and its a 3.1-inch touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel camera, 512MB of memory and 2GB of storage take on RIM for the business sector while the touch-screen Citrus gives the kids something more to play with. They're just small pawns in a much larger game.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.

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