Google's Android tops as others including BlackBerry and Nokia sink

Google's Android devices have become most popular smart phones in the US, said a Nielsen survey Tuesday, a day when Nokia shares tanked more than 15 percent on weaker quarterly outlook.

The April survey of 65,000 users showed that 36 percent mobile consumers now use an Android device, compared to 26 percent who use Apple iPhones and 23 percent who use Blackberry.

If current mobile data usage is also any indicator, Google Android smart phones are set to leave Apple iPhones way behind. Android smartphone owners use an average of 582 MB of data each month, compared to 492 MB for iPhone owners, said the survey. Google's Android operating system (OS) is also proving to be the most popular, according to the survey.

The Neilsen survey came yet another bad news for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) which was dragged down more than four percent as Nokia shares tanked more than 15 percent in New York after the global handset leader warned of lower sales in the second quarter.

Jittery investors also abandoned RIM stock which closed at $41.35 - the lowest levels not seen since 2006 - on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

While RIM has lost more than 60 percent of its value since 2008, Nokia's value has shrunk 43 percent since the last year. At $7.02 Tuesday, Nokia stock is at its 13-year low.

'Nokia's warning this morning is probably just the prelude to another RIM warning that investors have learned to get used to,'' analyst Jon Ogg told the Globe and Mail. 
He said merger was the only solution for RIM and Nokia.

'We do not like mergers but this may be the only shot for these companies to stop the bleeding. Admittedly, this is a long-shot deal. A RIM-Nokia merger might encounter too many problems before getting off the ground. Still, what choices to these two companies have today?' the analysts said.
RIM, whose current stock is a pale shadow of $150 seen in June 2008, is currently valued at about $23 billion.

The presence of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at RIM's BlackBerry World annual conference of customers, developers and partners in Florida last month fuelled speculation that the cash-rich software giant could soon buy the BlackBerry company to make a mark in the smart phone market. Microsoft, which is sitting on a $48-billion cash pile, has already partnered RIM to adopt its Bing as the default search engine on BlackBerry smart phones.

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