NPD: Android On Top, Windows Phone 7 Gaining

A new report from research firm NPD's Connected Intelligence unit, reveals unsurprisingly that Android is still on top, but also suggests that its continued dominance is not guaranteed. The report shows that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform may soon gain momentum with nearly half of smartphone owners, and those intending to own a smartphone, beginning to consider a Windows Phone 7 device as their next choice.

Android still generates the most interest among all the operating system options currently available to consumers, but has a significant draw on BlackBerry users. According to the NPD report, one-third of BlackBerry owners are most interested in Android for their next smartphone purchase. However, strong competition still comes from the iPhone and new competition will come from Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 Mango handsets. The Google-Motorola deal may also push handset manufacturers to more fully embrace Windows Phone 7 this time around, offering up more desirable devices with the new and improved Mango OS.

About 44 percent of smartphone owners, and those who intend to buy one, say that they are considering a Windows Phone 7 device for their next purchase. However, Microsoft still has plenty of hurdles, as 45 percent of consumers still are not aware of the Windows Phone 7 platform, while 50 percent of consumers planning to purchase a smartphone in the next six months say that they are not choosing the platform because they don't know enough about it.

Another reason given for not choosing Windows Phone 7 is the feeling of having invested too much time and money on the other OS ecosystems. With iOS and Android having the head start, many customers have already spent a great deal on apps for those ecosystems, making it less likely for them to transition and invest in a new ecosystem.