Win for Google as Android becomes US smartphone leader, Apple hit by iAds delays

We should qualify this a bit, phones using Google’s Android operating system now account for 17.2 per cent of the US smartphone market but they’re not all Google phones, Motorola and Sony Ericsson (recently also-rans in the smartphone business) have received a much-needed boost from their adoption of Android.

But it’s alarming news for long-time phone market leader Nokia and BlackBerry which are now outsold by Android in the US and, increasingly, elsewhere.

Globally Android has already overtaken Apple’s iPhone which is being held back because it is only available from Apple and a hand-picked number of mobile operators.

This is very good for Apple’s profits of course but is still a cause for worry, eerily reminiscent of the company’s decision at the outset not to license its Mac software to others, thereby allowing Microsoft to embark on its road to world software domination.

At the same time Apple’s new iAds mobile platform is reporting to be experiencing delays as the company’s insistence on retaining creative control of the ads it runs on iPhones and iPads is stretching out the production process to a hardly realistic eight to ten weeks. One advertiser, Chanel, has shelved its planned iAds campaign in frustration.

The phone market share numbers come from research company Gartner which is predicting that Android will be the global market leader by the end of 2010.

“We thought Android would be the second-largest global smartphone operating system by the end of 2012,” says the company, “but we are now seeing that it could be as soon as the end of this year.

“For a lot of companies Android has been a godsend.”

Motorola and Sony Ericsson would say amen to that.

Nokia remains the overall global market leader, selling 111.5m devices in the second quarter of 2010 for a 34.2 per cent share, down from 36.8 per cent. BlackBerry is also losing share and is currently bedevilled by governments including Saudi Arabia and India insisting they gain access to its encrypted messages on security grounds.

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