Android Extends Smartphone Lead at the Expense of RIM

The freight train known as Android continues to barrel down the smartphone tracks at full speed and was installed in 44 percent of all mobile phones purchased in Q3, according to the latest figures from NPD Group. That's an increase of 11 percentage points since Q2 and nearly twice as high as Apple's iOS, which increased its own share one percentage point to 23 percent.

RIM was the big loser in the third quarter, dropping from 28 percent to 22 percent and falling into third place.

"Much of Android's quarterly share growth came at the expense of RIM, rather than Apple," said Ross Rubin executive director of industry analysis for NPD. "The HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been sharing strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide."

Google's strategy of spreading its Android OS around rather than concentrating on a single device (like Apple does) is paying off. Because of this, Android has been able to fast track its success without a so-called iPhone killer, a fact that's underscored by the iPhone 4 being the top selling handset in Q3.