Android powers 44 percent of U.S. smartphone sales in Q3

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Devices running Google's Android operating system accounted for 44 percent of smartphones sold in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2010, according to new data issued by market research firm NPD Group. Android sales increased 11 percentage points over the second quarter, NPD adds--Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS held relatively steady, rising one percentage point quarter-over-quarter to 23 percent of U.S. smartphone sales, while Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry plunged to 22 percent, down from 28 percent in Q2. "The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide," said NPD Group executive director of industry analysis Ross Rubin in a prepared statement.

NPD Group adds that when OS unit share for Q3 2010 is compared to the third quarter of 2009, BlackBerry share plummeted by 53 percent, while iOS share declined 21 percent. "There has not been much share left to grab from the other operating systems," Rubin said. "The iPhone has held its own at AT&T, but Apple faces challenges in further expanding its domestic market share, while still retaining exclusivity."

Smartphones accounted for four of the top five bestselling U.S. handset models in Q3, NPD notes. Apple's iPhone 4 led all devices, followed by the BlackBerry Curve 8500 series--the LG Cosmos, the lone feature phone on the list, comes in at the number three spot, trailed by the Motorola Droid X and HTC Evo 4G.

For more on Android's Q3 growth:
- read this release

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