Android continues to rule roost -

Phones based on Google's Android operating system are continuing to gain market share.

According to Gartner figures, in the third quarter of the year Android ran on an estimated 52.5 per cent of all smartphones sold.

The analyst house points out that this is more than doubling its market share from the third quarter of 2010. Roberta Cozza, Gartner's principal research analyst, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Android benefits 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.

Meanwhile Apple's market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone.

But Android appears more to be gaining at the expense of RIM's performance. Its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the US market, where it dropped to 10 percent.

The market for smartphones is growing too. It increased by 42 percent year over year in the third quarter, with about 115.2 million handsets sold worldwide.

Gartner said that the the overall mobile phone market grew by 5.6 percent from a year ago with about 440.5 million phones sold. One in four phones sold is a smartphone.

It is the first time that Android has taken more than half of the smartphone market. In the second quarter of the year, Android accounted for 43.4 per cent of all smartphones sold.

Gartner thinks that iPhone's sales will increase in the final quarter of the year as consumers take to the 4S and the older iPhone 4 and 3GS have had price cuts.