Gadget Watch: Android's Growth Spurt

We're charting another growth spurt for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android smartphones in the U.S. as we round up happenings in the world of mobile gadgets this week.

  • New research from comScore Inc. finds that 42.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones in an average month during the November to January period, up 18 percent from the previous three months.

    BlackBerry remains top of the smartphone heap with a 43 percent share of U.S. subscribers, up 1.7 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) ranked second with 25.1 percent share, up 0.3 percent, followed by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), at 15.7 percent. Up next is Google with a 7.1 percent share, up 4.3 percent.

    Microsoft seems to be coming off the worst from Google's entry into the market. Redmond's market share for the three months dropped 4 percent, according to comScore. The question is whether the tide of new Android phones being released now or coming soon can boost Android's market share to iPhone levels?

  • In that vein, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has just launched its first Android phone, called the Backflip, which seems to have left bloggers howling about "the most crippled Android experience" with the new device. Complaints abound about the replacement of Google Search with its Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) equivalent and various AT&T apps that are pre-intsalled on the phone. Woops!

  • Outside of the smartphone arena, meanwhile, there are new rumors of the Android operating system extending into other devices. Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) is said to be working on a set-top box using the code. The Wall Street Journal says that a partnership between Google and Dish will allow users of the set-top box to search video content from the satellite TV operator and YouTube Inc. No news of any release dates yet. (See Google Tests TV Search.)

  • iPad fever continues unabated ahead of the April 3 launch of the Webpad. Readers in the U.K. will be shocked to learn that they will pay more than their American cousins for the basic WiFi-only model. The U.K. price of £389 translates to just over $593. Ooof!

  • Most smartphone users will experienced the frustration of sudden battery death at one time or other. So here's a handy guide from The New York Times with tips on how to keep your gizmo juiced.

    Need more news about small boxes with radios in them? Just keep clicking...

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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