Google's mobile software is officially the most popular OS in China, according to a new report that shows sales numbers for mobile phones by OS for the last three quarters of 2011.
China is the largest and most valuable mobile phone market in the world and the news is definitely good for Android, which is playing well in the Asian market of over 950 million cell phone users. The same report shows that Android's market share has grown by one-third (33%) during the last nine months of 2011, which is explosive growth and far surpasses Apple's steady but slow growth in China.
China Mobile, the largest and most prominent cell phone carrier in the country, offers Android services while not offering Apple devices. This has a large part to play in Android's growth, but further trends can be seen from the fact that Android is open-source and relatively free, making it a no-brainer for many cell phone carriers and owners alike who do not wish to pay a premium for service.
Apple's other signature device, the iPad, is extremely popular and trounces all Android competitors. China has had to crack down on smuggling of iPads into the country and regulators have delayed reviewing and inspecting it due to the immense popularity of the unit.
While Apple is making strategic investments and China and has a large presence here, the rapid growth of the Android market is making Apple revisit its strategy in the Asian country. Android devices continue to hit the market one after another and while Apple's iPhone 4 & 4S are both popular in their own right, the sheer selection of cell phones running on the Android OS stack the deck ultimately in favor of Google.