Google's Android mobile OS is now the top choice of consumers.
The Android platform now accounts for 29 percent of smartphones, beating out RIM BlackBerry and Apple's iOS, each with 27 percent of the market, according to data released today by The Nielsen Company. Windows platforms grabbed 10 percent of the market followed by HP's Palm OS with 4 percent and Symbian with just 2 percent.
Because the Apple and RIM platforms are only available on Apple and RIM devices, and Android share is split by at least four manufacturers, that 27 percent share makes the Apple and RIM the top device makers. The distinction prompted a Nielsen blog announcing the survey results to suggest that the current winner of the U.S. smartphone battle "depends on whether you're looking at operating systems or manufacturers."
That's a distinction Google need not sweat. As hardware becomes a commodity vehicle to reach the OS and apps, the only race that matters will be the race to lock up manufacturers, carriers and app developers to reach the masses. Google Android just took the lead.