August data released yesterday from The Nielsen Company, confirms what research firms and observers have been asserting for months: that Android is now the most popular smartphone operating system.
Nielsen reports that Android was the top choice among people who bought a smartphone in the past six months, while Blackberry RIM and Apple iOS are in a statistical dead heat for second place among recent buyers. Among all smartphone owners, Blackberry still clings to its lead with 31 percent of the market, the firm says, though its edge over Apple, with 28 percent, is slipping while Google's Android is gaining rapidly, now with 19 percent of smartphone users.
The primary goal of Hewlett-Packard's pending acquisition of smartphone maker Palm is to gain its mobile operating system, which HP plans to built into everything from tablet PCs to printers.
HP CEO Mark Hurd gave the first detailed look at the company's plans for Palm, once the $1.2 billion acquisition is complete, during the conference call with analysts to discuss the company's second-quarter earnings. Hurd said webOS will go well beyond smartphones, and into connected devices such as tablet PCs and Web printers, complete with an app store. The company also plans to grow Palm's smartphone business, but the acquisition is a broader play to gain a mobile OS.
"It isn't precisely a smartphone play, as I've seen some people write," Hurd said. “It is, for us, strategically broader.”
At this week's at Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated the long-awaited next generation of Windows smartphone software, elegantly dubbed Windows Phone Series. Yet the mid-February announcement only promises new devices "by holiday 2010" to compete with Blackberries, iPhones and new Android-based phones. And by "holiday" they likely mean Christmas/Chanukkah/Kwanzaa, not Labor Day, Columbus Day or Halloween.