Data released from market research company the NPD Group has revealed that Android based handsets have outsold the iPhone in the US for the first time. The research, which focuses on sales from the first quarter of 2010, shows that Google is fighting back strongly in the battle for smartphone supremacy.

The news comes just weeks after researchers GfK announced that here in the UK, one in five smartphones sold is an Android device, and that contracts sold on Android phones had risen to 12.3 per cent in April compared to just 3 per cent for a similar period in March.

The NPD Group states that BlackBerry is still the biggest selling smartphone brand in the US, with 36 per cent of the market share, compared to Android's 28 per cent and the iPhone's 21 per cent.

Apple will no doubt have some concerns with the results but, with the next generation iPhone due this year, it will be confident that it will begin to outsell Android devices again. After all, it's worth remembering that the latest iPhone model, the 3GS, has been available for over a year now.

Sure, the figures are promising for Android, but we're guessing it won't be long before Apple is back on top, although it is refreshing that Apple finally has a worthy competitor.