Android could knock Apple off its perch by 2012

Android is garnering an ever-widening share of the market, two new reports show. And if Apple isn't careful, the iPhone could eventually be eclipsed by Android devices.

Android phones, such as the Motorola Droid shown at left, could eventually dominate the smartphone market. Are we entering the Android Age?

In two years time, Android phones will have gobbled up a bigger share of the worldwide smartphone market than even the mighty – and much-lovedApple iPhone. That's the report this afternoon from the analytics firm iSuppli, which predicts that Google's Android operating system will be on 75 million smartphones around the world by 2012. By comparison, Apple's iOS will be used on a still-sizable 62 million iPhone handsets.

It's worth keeping in mind that in some ways, we're talking about apples and oranges – the Android OS has been adopted by plenty of smartphone manufacturers, from Motorola to HTC, while iOS is thus far unique to the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad. Still, Android and iOS rat race has attracted plenty of attention in recent weeks, mostly because Apple and Google are increasingly seen as rivals on the mobile market.

In related news, yesterday the NPD group announced that Android had become the most popular smartphone operating system in the US. According to NPD, Android-equipped phones currently account for 33 percent of all smartphones purchased by American consumers. That's better than Research In Motion – the maker of the BlackBerry – and Apple, which earned 28 and 22 percent, respectively.

In July, Verizon released the Droid X, a smartphone equipped with a powerful 8-megapixel camera and the latest Android operating system. Reviewers praised the 4.3-inch high-resolution display on the Droid X, calling the screen "brilliant and crisp." But despite promising that plenty of Droid X units would be in stock, Verizon apparently sold out of the smartphone at hundreds of retail outlets around the country.

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