Android now three times bigger than Apple iOS

Google's Android OS accounted for more than half of all smartphone shipped globally in the last quarter - and nearly three times as many as Apple's iOS.

New figures out today from market analyst Gartner reveal that Android managed to nearly double its market share from 25.3 per cent in Q3 2010, to 52.5 per cent during the same period in 2011.

Overall, sales of mobile devices were up 5.6 per cent on 2010's figures - while sales of smartphones increased by a massive 42 per cent year on year.

"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Apple's fortunes were less rosy, though: its iOS mobile operating system captured a 15.0 per cent market share, down from 16.6 per cent in the same quarter last year - though some of this slide may be attributed to the consumers delaying purchases in Q3 expectation of the iPhone 5 - and in the event, the iPhone 4S - being launched. Total iPhone shipments for the quarter stood at 17 million

Nokia remains the biggest maker of mobile devices as a whole, with a 23.9 per cent market share, while Samsung comes in second at 17.8 per cent.

The South Korean firm, currently locked in patent disputes across the world with rival Apple, leapfrogged its fruit foe to become the largest single smartphone manufacturer for the first time, with sales of 24 million units.