Android continues to muscle out U.S. competitors by Seth Weintraub @FortuneMagazine November 1, 2010, 2:59 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons The latest numbers for U.S. smartphones show Android taking a big lead into the holidays. Following up on numbers from Canalys released earlier today, NPD is showing (via AllThingsD) that there isn’t any slowing Google’s GOOG Android express as it continues to take market share away from its competitors in the U.S. The gains continued even as Google’s competitors released high-profile phones: RIM’s RIMM Torch and Apple’s AAPL iPhone 4. Both appear to be doing well. But Android market share is now nearly as much as iOS and Blackberry combined market share. There was no shortage of phones released on the Android platform this quarter. Sprint and Verizon released versions of the popular Galaxy S line which Samsung expects to sell over 10 million by the end of the year. Motorola released about 10 Android handsets for the holidays and HTC is keeping pace with new phones almost every month. Thanks to continued high-profile handset introductions, the Android smartphone operating system (OS) significantly grew its lead in the U.S. consumer smartphone market in the third quarter (Q3). According to The NPD Group, Android’s OS was installed in 44 percent of all smartphones purchased in Q3, an increase of 11 percentage points since Q2; Apple iOS held relatively steady versus last quarter, rising one percentage point to 23 percent; RIM OS, fell to third position, declining from 28 percent to 22 percent. “Much of Android’s quarterly share growth came at the expense of RIM, rather than Apple,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. “The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide.” But if you look at individual models, Blackberry and Apple still lead the pack. NPD’s top five phones (interesting that there was only one feature phone in the bunch): 1. Apple iPhone 4 (smartphone) 2. BlackBerry Curve 8500 series (smartphone) 3. LG Cosmos (messaging phone) 4. Motorola Droid X (smartphone) 5. HTC EVO 4G (smartphone) Microsoft MSFT is expected to start grabbing back some of its share of U.S. consumer smartphone handsets as it releases a handful of phones on AT&T T and T-Mobile’s network for the holidays.