Android has surged ahead in the global smartphone market with more than half of all handsets sold worldwide in Q3 2011 running Google's mobile OS.
Data from Gartner shows that Android now has a 52.5 percent share of the global smartphone market, up from 25.3 percent in Q3 2010. In contrast, iOS's share has declined from 16.6 percent to 15 percent over the same period.
Sales of iPhones actually increased from Q3 2010, when they stood at 13.48 million, to 17.29 million in Q3 2011. However, sales of Android handsets nearly trebled from 20.54 million to 60.49 million over the same period.
"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner.
"Apple's iOS market share suffered from delayed purchases as consumers waited for the new iPhone. Continued pressure is impacting RIM's performance, and its smartphone share reached its lowest point so far in the US market, where it dropped to 10 percent."
In terms of handset manufacturers - including sales of feature phones and smartphones - Nokia remains at the top of the league though its market share declined from 28.2 percent to 23.9 percent between Q3 2010 and Q3 2011.
Samsung took second place, boosting its market share from 17.2 percent to 17.8 percent while LG held third spot despite its share declining from 6.6 percent to 4.8 percent. Apple came in fourth, slightly increasing its share from 3.2 percent to 3.9 percent.
"Apple shipped 17 million iPhones, an annual increase of 21 percent, but down nearly 3 million units from the second quarter of 2011 because of Apple's new device announcement in October," Gartner said in its report.
"Gartner believes Apple will bounce back in the fourth quarter because of its strongest ever preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first weekend after its announcement. Markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China are becoming more important to Apple, representing 16 percent of overall sales and showing that the iPhone has a place in emerging markets."
Yesterday, Gartner released data showing that Apple had gained share in the Western European and UK PC markets.