Apple Inc. (AAPL) Trailing Google Inc. (GOOG) in Smartphone Sales

A new survey out by Canalys shows that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android-operated smartphones are still the most popular in the world market, outdistancing the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Research in Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry. The chart above is Canalys’s analysis of smartphone sales last quarter based on the operating system contained in the phone.

The Next Battleground for Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOG)?

The chart shows that not only does the Android from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) lead the market ahead of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Research in Motion, but it dominates by a wider margin now than one year ago. Android sales were up 110 percent year-over-year, so that it is now in 68 percent of all smartphones in the market – and Android is the OS of choice of 81 percent of smartphones in the China market , which makes up 27 percent of the total global market. One year ago, Android phones were in 48 percent of phones shipped (the U.S., by the way, accounts for 16 percent).

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) saw its market share suffer worldwide mainly because it had suffered a 28 percent drop in smartphones sales in China. While its iOS system was in 28 percent more phones this quarter than a year ago, Apple’s market share dropped to 16 percent of all phones after accounting for 19 percent a year ago. However, the iOS is still one-fourth of the market that Android is, so Apple Inc. might just have to root for a huge launch for its iPhone 5 in the fall in the hopes of making up any ground – and hopes that censorship issues in China affect Google in a dramatic way.

Research in Motion, surprisingly, is still third in the world with its BlackBerry operating system. Canalys reported that 8.5 million smartphones were shipped last quarter that contained the BlackBerry OS, though it was 32 percent lower than the same time a year ago – thus pushing BlackBerry market share down to just 5.4 percent after being a competitive 11.6 percent of the market a year ago.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw a 277 percent increase in shipments of smartphones with Windows Phone operating systems on it, from 1.3 million last year to 5.1 million in 2012. While it may not be reasonable to expect similar growth for the next year, it certainly could be a clue that Microsoft will get into the market, which otherwise looks like could be a two-horse race before long, between Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS phones. If Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) doesn’t get into the mix quickly to replace Research in Motion and its BlackBerry OS as a third option, there will soon be a virtual monopoly, if Google and Apple continue to grow like they did this past year. By the way, Apple and Google are the two most popular stocks among the hedge funds we track (see the 10 most popular stocks among hedge funds).