Android games, smartphone sector not deterred by Apple

by Kristen Nicole

Android by the numbers

The iPad 2 may have introduced more competition into the mobile market, but Android still dominates the smartphone sector. According to a Nielsen report released this morning, Android OS market share rests 2 percent above RIM (RIMM) BlackBerry and Apple (AAPL) iOS, taking 29 percent of consumer interest. While RIM and Apple take top billing for manufacturers market share, Android’s disperse manufacture partners like HTC (2498.TW) still take a large chunk collectively. 12 percent of smartphone owners hold an HTC device running Android, while Motorola (MMI) Androids take about 10 percent for themselves.

That means the Google’s (GOOG) Android OS stands to dominate in the mobile gaming industry as well. A recent survey from PopCap Games demonstrates gamer behavior for smartphones, showing that merely owning one increases game play frequency. About 92 percent of smartphone owners play games weekly, and nearly half make regular appointments to play games daily. 87 percent of smartphone users also purchase twice as many games for their mobile devices compared to those with a web-enabled phone.

Developer perks

This is all good news for game developers, as they recognize the potential behind Android’s expansive market. Havok, the maker of cross-platform game development tools, has ported its kit to Android Gingerbread, as well as teamed up with Sony Ericcson (SNE) for optimizing Xperia Play games. Developers will be able to leverage AI, animation and other game features once relegated to PC and console games. The team-up brings Gingerbread support to Xperia.

Nvidia’s (NVDA) also taking advantage of Android’s popularity, launching the Tegra Zone app store for high-end mobile games. Available in the Android Market, this portal offers access to games, publishes previews, reviews and news, and supports purchases through the Android Market. Having recently extended HD support for its Android games, you’ll find many of them in Tegra Zone, including Samurai II: Vengeance THD, Fruit Ninja THD and Hardwood Solitaire IV.