Over half of all smartphones sold running Android

More than half of the world’s new smartphones being sold are running Google’s Android software, according to new figures from research firm Gartner.

Android’s market share has more than doubled in the last year, with the smartphone market itself expanding by a staggering 42% to tip 115.2m devices in Q3, 52% of them running Android. Other platforms have suffered a decrease in market share as a result, it said, with Apple's iOS market share slipping by 1.6%.

"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 iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone. Continued pressure is impacting RIM's performance, and its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the U.S. market, where it dropped to 10 percent."

Microsoft has suffered a sizable decrease relative to its market share, dropping from 2.7% in Q3 last year to just 1.5% in Gartner’s most recent measurement. And while Nokia’s Symbian market share also lost ground, the WP7/Nokia partnership is looking more like a good move for Microsoft, with Nokia still selling a respectable number of handsets.

If the Nokia WP7 phones prove as popular with consumers, a stiff Microsoft fight-back could well be on the cards.

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