Malware becomes the measure of success in smartphone market

Android takes the lead with disappointingly small number of threats, as iOS struggles with none.


The disappearance of the nonexistent WebOS leaves no gap in the lineup of smartphone OS vendors elbowing each other for attention and market share, but somehow it increased the amount of pushing and shoving in the scrum, anyway.

Microsoft is tarting itself up for ISVs, HTC decided to stick with Android for its smartphones rather than building a smartphone OS from scratch, which it talked about but wasn't going to do anyway.

Apple, which doesn't leak pre-release information under any circumstances, especially when it would boost its visibility a bit at a critical time in the marketing hype cycle, had absolutely no role in letting it be known that a cheaper version of the iPhone 4 is on the way (with less memory) and that the iPhone 5 would be even awesomer than it Apple didn't say it would be when Apple wasn't talking about the iPhone 5 before.

iPhone 5, Apple didn't say, will be a dual-mode "world" phone that supports both CDMA and GSM networks, bridging the gap between the two and giving customers the ability to lose calls on nearly any network in the world.

Google's Android – after the big excitement following the announcement Google would buy Motorola and the confusion that eventually followed as even Google tried to figure out why – had nothing new going for it so far this week, until today.

According to a report security firm McAfee (PDF)released just today, Android has taken the lead among all smartphone and tablet operating systems for the number of individual bits of malware designed specifically for it.

A jump of 76 percent in the number of bits of malware designed for it put Android ahead of Symbian and J2ME, both of which have been around and available for infection far longer than Android.

The number of bits of malware designed for Android jumped 76 percent during the second calendar quarter, many of the new entries disguising themselves as legitimate apps.

Percentages are often more impressive than numbers, however. The total number of Android malware threats is only 44.

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