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Android overtakes Apple in US smartphone race

Google's Android operating system has overtaken Apple's iPhone in terms of system share for the first time in the US according to number crunchers at Neilsen.

The inexorable rise of smartphone penetration in the US of A, which has grown from 16 per cent in the second quarter of 2009 to 25 per cent in the same period this year, means that multi-purpose devices like the iPhone will start to outsell traditional handsets by the end of 2011.

Nielsen's latest figures also reveals that Android-toting hardware has outsold devices using Apple's recently-revamped mobile OS for the first time when it comes to new buyers.

Android handsets accounted for 27 per cent of new sales over the last six months with Apple dropping to 23 per cent. Blackberry handsets kept their position at the top of the heap with 33 per cent.

The figures posted by the media-watching outfit also give an interesting insight into OS loyalty with just 42 per cent of Blackberry punters planning to stick with their current operating system. 71 per cent of Android users said their next phone would run Google's open source offering, but an impressive 89 per cent of Apple users said they would keep the faith by sticking with the iPhone.