Android, which Google acquired in 2005 and launched on phones in 2008, is used by almost all the major phone makers including HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung.
It was the No.1 platform in 35 of the 56 countries Canalys tracks, resulting in a market share of 48 per cent, the research firm said.
By comparison, Apple, which shipped 20.3 million iPhones, is a distant second with a market share of 19 per cent. But Apple, which uses the iOS platform, overtook ailing Finnish handset maker Nokia as the world’s largest individual smartphone vendor.
Samsung also overtook Nokia but Canalys said the South Korean handset maker could have done better.
Samsung, which sells Android smartphones as well as its own bada branded devices, shipped about 17 million devices, a rise of 421 per cent versus a year ago.