IDC has reported that Google Android was shipping on 75 percent of smartphones by the end of the third quarter of 2012. And growth in Android shipments was 91.5 percent year over year, double the overall market growth rate of 46.4 percent. (See also Paul Thurrott's, "Nokia to Deliver Maps to iPhone, Android, and Web").

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” IDC research manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement attached to the firm’s smartphone market share report. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition.”

Of the 181 million smartphones shipped in Q3 2012, 136 million were running Android, a new record sales pace. Apple’s iPhone accounted for 30 million of the smartphone sales, a second-place finish good for 15 percent of the market. BlackBerry and Symbian, in third and fourth place, respectively, both lost ground.

But fifth-place challenger Windows Phone generated the biggest growth of all platforms, jumping 140 percent year over year to take 3.6 percent of the market. It should surpass the dying Symbian platform this quarter.

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For now at least, the smartphone market is a two-platform race. Combined, Android and iPhone (iOS) account for over 90 percent of all smartphones sold. And with a high-profile and successful iPhone 5 launch just before the beginning of the current quarter, Apple is sure to post some big numbers, and perhaps a temporary gain, as it tends to do around such launches.

And though IDC didn’t address sales by specific Android vendors, it did note that Samsung once again led all device makers, including Apple, to take the number-one spot overall. ABI Research earlier claimed that Samsung had sold 55.5 million smartphones in the quarter, compared with 27 million for Apple. Strategy Analytics had similar numbers. But whatever the exact figures, Samsung is the biggest fish in the biggest pond: It sells over five times as many smartphones as its closest Android-based competitor.

For more information, see "Give Android a Break, Will Ya?" and "iOS and Windows Phone: Let the Games Begin."