Sales of smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system have overtaken Apple's iPhone in the US for the first time, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen.

The survey found that Android's share of the smartphone market in the six months ending in August, jumped from 14 percent to 32 percent, while the iPhone dropped from 32 percent to 25 percent. Sales of RIM's Blackberry dropped from 34 percent to 26 percent.

Android, which trailed the iPhone and Blackberry by several years in coming to the market, still has plenty of work to catch up. Its portion of overall market share jumped from eight percent to 19 percent in August. RIM retained first place, down from 36 percent to 31 percent, while the iPhone dropped one point to 28 percent.

The data reflected the increasing popularity of Android, which powers dozens of different smartphones made by Motorola, HTC, Samsung and LG, which are sold by all the major US carriers.

PC World analyst Tony Bradley said a continuation of the current trend would relegate the iPhone to niche status – similar to that of Apple's Mac computers. He cited Apple's tight control over hardware and software and the iPhone's exclusivity agreement with AT&T as the main reasons for its falling market share.

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