Android's march to the top of the smartphone field has been nothing short of meteoric. Back in 2008, there were still questions about the viability of the platform. But in July, Strategy Analytics researchers delivered their latest smartphone market share numbers, which showed Android reaching new highs at a record 84.6 percent share of global smartphone shipments. That is commanding share.
Some people forget, though, that Google steers a preferred version of Android (the version used by members of the Open Handset Alliance, with Google Play support and services), while the Android Open Source Project walks its own path. The fact is, though, both channels benefit Google in big ways.