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It's been a good year for Android-based smartphones: their worldwide sales are up 1,309 per cent, year-on-year, according to research outfit Canalys.

"With Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson all delivering large numbers of Android devices, and with focused efforts from many other vendors, such as LG, Huawei and Acer, yielding promising volumes, the platform continues to gather momentum in markets around the world," Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham said in a report released on Monday.

Of course, such insane year-on-year growth means that last year's figures had to be somewhat meager — and they were. In the third quarter of 2009, Canalys reports, worldwide Android-phone sales were 1.4 million. In the same quarter this year, they had grown to over 20 million.

The Canalys report also notes that Nokia still holds the worldwide lead in smartphone market share at 33 per cent. Android phones come in at about a quarter of worldwide sales, followed by Apple's iPhone at 17 per cent and RIM's stable of BlackBerries at 15 per cent.

In the US, however, Nokia is relegated to membership in the fifth-place class of "Others", where it shares 3 per cent of the market with, well, others. US smartphone sales, according to Canalys, were dominated by Android devices, which accounted for 43.6 per cent of the market in the third quarter of this year.

Behind the Android phones come the iPhone at 26.2 per cent, and RIM at 24.2 per cent. Microsoft? A mere 3 per cent, tying it with "Others."

But Canalys isn't counting Microsoft out just yet, not with Windows Phone 7 looming. "Windows Phone 7 is streets ahead of earlier iterations and provides a vastly improved user experience that will pleasantly surprise many people when they come to use it," said Canalys analyst Chris Jones.

But Jones is not without concerns. "The big challenge will be for handset vendors to differentiate their devices sufficiently given the restrictions Microsoft has placed on customizing the user interface, and its relatively demanding minimum hardware requirements, which will confine devices to the higher end of the market." ®

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