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Android: Google's baby ate 75% of smartphones in just 4 years

Walking corpse BlackBerry still doing OK on inertia

Top three mobile application threats

Seventy five per cent of smartphones sold in the last three months were running Android, according to IDC, though the iPhone 5 could well be to blame.

The figure comes from the company's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, and covers July-September inclusive, so Apple's decision to launch a new iPhone on September 21 has obviously skewed the figures a little, but it's still a significant share for a platform which was only launched four years ago.

Android was launched in September 2008, as a free OS to complete with Apple's iOS and, then dominant, Symbian. But Android isn't just gaining ground 'cos it's free - the latest Android devices can complete with Apple's flagship in usability and style, not to mention costing almost as much.

136 million Android devices were shipped in the third quarter of 2012, according to IDC, pushing iOS into a distant second place with fewer than 27 million devices shipped. Symbian, for all its impending death, still managed to outsell Windows Phone by shipping 4.1 million, well over the 3.6 million devices running Microsoft's latest foray into mobility.

Speaking of the walking dead - 7.7 million users chose BlackBerry handsets, showing surprising loyalty to a platform in cardiac arrest which isn't expecting the resuscitating paddles of BlackBerry 10 until early next year.

It's not that surprising that Android is outselling iOS as a platform, given a choice between last year's iPhone and a low-end, but new model, running Android the majority seem to side with Google. The iPhone 5 will redress the balance slightly, but Apple will remain happy with fifteen percent of the world's mobile-device business. ®

Top three mobile application threats

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