Apple, Android Ride Smartphone Surge

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A pair of new reports shows strong demand for smartphones and a heated five-way race among mobile phone software shops.

Nielsen's survey of U.S. phone owners, released Tuesday, showed that nearly 30% of wireless customers have purchased smartphones.

Thanks to strong sales of Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone and Google ( GOOG) Android phones worldwide, third-quarter smartphone sales rose 9% over second-quarter levels, according to a Morgan Stanley tally also released Tuesday.

With Apple and Android on the rise and smartphone leaders Nokia ( NOK) and Research In Motion ( RIMM) fading, Morgan Stanley predicts big changes to the industry market share pie with Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows Phone 7 entering the arena.

Citing the strong smartphone sales surge, Morgan Stanley increased its 2010 global phone sales growth estimate to 12% from the firm's 9.5% forecast previously.

Here are the rankings:

In the U.S., Nielsen says third-quarter market share is a three-way race. Apple and RIM's BlackBerries are tied for first with 27% of the market, Android is closing in with 22%.

Worldwide, in smartphone market share, Nokia still tops with 32.4%, Apple moved to second with 17.2%, RIM has 14.8%, Samsung has 10.4%, HTC has 8.3% and Motorola ( MOT) came in fifth with 4.6%.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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