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Device operating systems

OS Watch: AT&T Outsmarts Verizon in Phones

Earnings and losses, along with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and, of course, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), are the topics of this week's OS chatter.

Smartphones dominate Q2: The story of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless 's second quarters was all about smartphone sales, although AT&T is still leading its soon-to-be smaller rival. AT&T activated 5.6 million smartphones in the quarter, 43 percent more than this time last year. Verizon didn't divulge its smartphone numbers, but did note that consumers owning the advanced devices now make up 36 percent of its customer base. Over at AT&T, smartphone owners account for 49.9 percent of the total. (See AT&T Ups Capex to $20B to Develop 3G & LTE, AT&T Q2 Revenue Up 2.2% as Profit Dips , Verizon's Q2 Revenue Up 2.8% and Verizon CEO: We Expect iPhone 5 in the Fall.) Frag Watch: Google is attacking Android's fragmentation at the application level, allowing multiple versions of the same app to fit different devices. It doesn't exactly make a developer's life easier, but it does ensure apps are optimized for the OS version and hardware they're on.

Microsoft's Windows of opportunity: Microsoft's fourth-quarter earnings beat investor expectations on Thursday, but it wasn't thanks to Windows -- neither in PCs nor smartphones. Tablet sales bit into its PC business, and the wait for Windows Phone 7-based devices stalled sales of mobile devices for the company. (See Will the iPad Eat the PC Market?)

Nokia's second-quarter blues: Nokia didn't have a lot to celebrate in the second quarter as it prepared the transition to Windows Phone. Smartphones sales were down 34 percent, but Nokia believes it can still compete on the low end with Symbian Ltd. -based feature phones in markets such as China and India. (See Euronews: Nokia Shrinks, Ericsson Grows and Price Is Right for Nokia's Windows Phone.)

Apple's one phone leads the smartphone pack: In the biggest blow to Nokia's already waning self-esteem, Apple and its one phone overtook the handset maker as the world's largest smartphone vendor in the second quarter. Nokia's 34 percent slip to 16.7 million units put it behind Apple's 20.3 million iPhones shipped in the quarter. Apple already stole the largest revenue-generator title from Nokia in the first quarter of this year.

Apple loses tablet market share; Android finds it: Apple may be the new smartphone leader, but Android is finally starting to put a dent in iPad's tablet dominance. Apple's share of the tablet market fell to 61 percent in the second quarter of this year, from 94 percent last year, while Android grew from just 2.9 percent to 30 percent in the same time period, Strategy Analytics Inc. reports. Microsoft was the next closest with 5 percent market share, beating out BlackBerry 's PlayBook. (See Where Are the LTE Tablets?)



BlackBerry PlayBook gets the governmental nod: One bragging right that RIM gets to hold on to is that the PlayBook is the first tablet to receive FIPS 140-2 certification for government use. No other tablet has got this clearance yet. (See BlackBerry PlayBook Gets Government Certification.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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