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Google Android phone shipments increase by 886%

image captionDemand for phones such as the HTC Desire has helped drive shipments

Shipments of Google's Android mobile operating system have rocketed in the last year, figures suggest.

Statistics from research firm Canalys suggest that shipments have increased 886% year-on-year from the second quarter of 2009.

Apple showed the second largest growth in the smartphone sector with 61% growth in the same period.

Overall, the smartphone sector grew by 64% from the second quarter 2009 to the second quarter 2010, the research says.

Pete Cunningham, an analyst at Canalys, said Android's sales were in part due to recent launches of "highly compelling" phones.

"We're really seeing major vendors getting behind the platform," he said.

In particular, he said, large manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, all used the platform and had helped drive shipments.

In turn, said Mr Cunningham, shipments would mean sales and market share.

"Typically over a year, the two pretty much balance out," he said.

The most popular platform during the period was Symbian, commonly found on Nokia and some Sony Ericsson phones.

The Symbian Foundation recently made its code open source meaning that any organisation or individual can use and modify the platform's underlying source code.

Although it is consistently the most popular smart phone operating system, it is often overshadowed by Apple's iPhone and Google Android operating system.

"It is a mass market platform," said Mr Cunningham of Symbian.

He said firms such as Nokia were increasingly switching to other platforms to compete with the two popular platforms.

In particular, the firm had recently launched Meego, along with chip-maker Intel.

"It is going to use Meego to challenge Apple and Android at the top end of the market," he said.

The firm's Anssi Vanjoki recently admitted that Nokia had lost mindshare and needed to "fight back".

"There is no denying, that as a challenger now, we have a fight on our hands," he wrote in a blog.

Mr Cunningham said that "you can never write Nokia off".

"They are still the market leader," he said.

The iPhone saw the second largest growth during the period, despite recent high-profile problems with the most newly-launched iPhone 4.

The firm recently offered customers a free case for their phone to mitigate a problem in which phone signal strength was drained when the phone was held a certain way.

Microsoft was the only firm to see a drop in shipments during the period.

Its current platform - Windows Mobile 6.5 - is a "discontinued platform" according to Mr Cunningham.

"Nobody is going to use that when Windows Phone 7 is out in the fourth quarter [of 2010]," he said.

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