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Handsets like the Motorola Droid propelled Google to a tremendous market share gain, putting it within striking distance of third place competitor Microsoft.   (Source: AP)
Google jumped from 3.8 percent of the market in November 2009 to 9.0 percent in February 2010

A note to smartphone manufacturers: watch your back.

Google's Android smartphone operating system is doing quite well in the market, posting an incredible 236 percent growth in market share between November 2009 and February 2010, according to recently released metrics from market research firm ComScore.

That gain catapulted the open smartphone maker from 3.2 percent of the market to 9.0 percent of the market, sending it leaping over Palm into fourth place.  Speaking of Palm, the company's slide continues as it shed 1.8 percent market share, dropping from 7.2 percent to 5.4 percent.

Google's gains were fueled in part by the launch of the advanced Motorola Droid and HTC Nexus One handsets, which brought multi-touch to Android at last.

The picture isn't pretty for Microsoft either, who has to endure the agonizing wait for Windows Phone 7.  Microsoft was the biggest loser for the quarter, dropping from 19.1 percent to 15.1 percent.  That big loss means that with one more big quarter Google could pass Microsoft and move into third place.

Apple also posted a surprising loss as it awaits the release of the fourth generation iPhone this summer, which is rumored to bring an HD screen to the popular device.  The loss was minimal -- Apple shed 0.1 percent, dropping from 25.5 percent to 25.4 percent of the market.

Still, it marks a reversal of a long growth trend for Apple.  Apple has cause for concern with Android, as illustrated by its recent litigation against Android handset maker HTC, which its suing to try block all phone imports.  Apple's biggest asset is its 150,000 apps, but Droid's app library is rapidly expanding, and it now has 30,000 apps of its own.

RIM, meanwhile enjoys a healthy lead thanks to its loyal legion of business users.  The Blackberry maker remains somewhat aloof to the Apple-Microsoft-Google war that's developing below.  RIM's marketshare grew slightly over the quarter, jumping from 40.8 percent to 42.1 percent of the market.

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Study: "Android Users Still Not Buying Apps"
By reader1 on 4/6/2010 9:39:51 AM , Rating: -1
"...98.9% of all applications downloaded [on Android] are free apps."

57% of Android apps are free compared to 25% of App Store apps.

"Android Market has the highest percentage of free apps"

Android isn't designed to make money like the App Store and Windows Phone Marketplace are. That means fewer developers, less competition, lower quality, and less profit.

Also, some of the top apps on Android are game console emulators. That's further evidence that Android users have no intention of paying for anything. They'll drive away developers just as pirates drove away PC game developers.

By smackababy on 4/6/2010 9:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
I have a feeling that at the same time in its life, Apple had a lot more free apps. I like your numbers though, showing the amount of free apps downloaded on Android, but not that download on the iPhone. The number is probably fairly high as well.

RE: Study: "Android Users Still Not Buying Apps"
By rudy on 4/6/2010 10:58:53 AM , Rating: 2
No apple was heavy on paid apps right from the get go that is why they had an explosion in app development because people heard stories about getting rich quick. Now though free apps are going to reign most apps just are not worth paying for and sensible people know this. Any company that has an appstore will need to have core free apps that do what people need. This is apples history all over again they make a hot heavily advertized product then as the fad starts to fade they start lowering standards eventually they are a small player.

This time I think google will be a big player but the real beast is actually rimm.

By Netjak on 4/7/2010 10:38:37 AM , Rating: 2
I have the iPhone 3gs over 4 months, and so far I have not bought a single application. Built-in calendar is too simple, everyone else in the appstore too complicated or too specialized. There is no player for DivX or XviD. U can not save files, music, even html pages to internal memory, just "sync" with desktop computer.

iphone is excellent sms machine, have excellent mobile Web browser, but subpar reception. everything else is obscure and not comparable to real smartphones.

RE: Study: "Android Users Still Not Buying Apps"
By Abrahmm on 4/6/2010 9:54:47 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm.... So 57% of Android apps are free versus 25% of App store apps... Sounds like even more reason for consumers to use Android! You won't be milked dry by Apple and all of the apps! Most of the apps you need are free!

Seeing how the Android Market has exploded over the last couple of months, your "Drive away developers" theory doesn't hold water. After all, you can't make any money on an App if old Stevo decides to not allow your app on the market because he feels like it with no explanation.

By themaster08 on 4/6/2010 1:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
Seeing how the Android Market has exploded over the last couple of months, your "Drive away developers" theory doesn't hold water. After all, you can't make any money on an App if old Stevo decides to not allow your app on the market because he feels like it with no explanation.

Exactly. Treating your platform developers like crap is what will drive them away. Android's Market will prevail.

By AyashiKaibutsu on 4/6/2010 9:56:20 AM , Rating: 2
I don't own a smart phone I'd bother putting apps on, but all the most robust and lean applications I use on my main computer are all free (foobar/VLC to name some). Simple applications made with an eye for profit tend to be bloated pieces of junk.

By themaster08 on 4/6/2010 1:44:18 PM , Rating: 2
He's just being pissy because his precious iPhone has lost marketshare.

RE: Study: "Android Users Still Not Buying Apps"
By Phenick on 4/6/2010 10:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
You fail to realize the impact that Google's ad platform offers App developers for Android. The apps are free because you can add a little ad bar and make way more money if you make a truly USEFUL app.

Or you can buy it on the app store and find out it's total trash and never use it again. In the end the Google model is superior for everyone in the equation.

RE: Study: "Android Users Still Not Buying Apps"
By simo9000 on 4/6/2010 10:17:07 AM , Rating: 2
Second this.

Apple continues to fail to realize that the open source will always win if paired with advertizing. This is why network TV is free.

By seamonkey79 on 4/6/2010 1:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
I like the way the ad supported stuff has the ads integrated into the little bar at the bottom. In the long run, this lets the app get out to more people that are not going to pay a fee up front for unknown software, whereas with the ad, I, personally, have downloaded and run a number of apps on my Eris, and then turned around and paid for those that I thought I would use enough to not want even the little ad at the bottom. For those that just run the free versions, the author still gets money, and the user gets functionality for free. Win-Win.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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