Two new press releases out today illustrate how hot the new Android smartphone service is.
According to a Nielsen study, Android was the most popular smartphone operating system purchased in America over the past six months.
The Google system accounted for 32 percent of new smartphone purchases. RIM, the BlackBerry folks, were second at 26 percent and Apple was third at 25 percent.
In overall market share, RIM still leads at 31 percent, Apple is second at 28 percent and Android is third at 19 percent.
Also today, Samsung announced that its Android-based Galaxy S series of phones have sold more than 5 million since launching in June. That figure includes more than 2 million U.S sales.
What to make of the numbers?
Android has gotten popular very fast. The operating system is available from a number of handset makers and on virtually every network. So, some of the growth is not surprising, and with a slew of new Android tablets due, including a promising one from Samsung, the format should only continue to expand, especially when many carriers are offering buy one get one free specials.
The Google plan seems to be to get its system into everyone's hands. It may prove to be a smart choice.
Apple, unlike Android and RIM, are only selling the iPhone on one carrier, AT&T. It speaks to how popular the device is that it still accounts for 25 percent of the market for most of this year when you can only get it from a provider that many feel is inferior.
Apple badly needs to get onto multiple U.S. providers, if it cares about these kinds of penetration numbers. Many potential Apple customers say they'll still buy iPhone if and when it comes to Verizon or Sprint or T-Mobile. But with the new Androids, they may get tired of waiting -- and that appears to be happening now.
RIM has just released a new BlackBerry model so it'll be interesting to see the numbers six months from now.
From a consumer standpoint, there have never been this many good smartphone choices on the market at the same time. No matter which carrier you use, chances are you can get a killer smartphone for it right now.