Android nabs #2 spot for mobile browsing

The browser that comes built-in with Google’s Android operating system has just become the second most popular mobile browser.

Unfortunately for Google, that doesn’t mean it’s chipping away anything from the dominant mobile browser, Safari, which is used by millions of iPhone owners every day.

In the latest report from analytics group Net Applications, Safari was shown to have a 55.6% browser share in the mobile market. That’s a new record.

But Android’s popularity also swelled, to 18.7%, finally making it the second most used mobile browser. Opera Mini had formerly carried that title.

Opera used to be the de facto standard for mobile browsers before the advent of high-end smartphones like Android and iPhone. The problem for Opera was that it relied on its business-to-business relationships with mobile manufacturers and has struggled to earn a name for itself among the majority of end users.

As such, even though it is possible to run Opera on an Android phone, the vast majority don’t. Opera slipped to a 13.1% share in the mobile browser market in October.

Rounding out the list were Nokia’s Symbian browser at 2.6% and Blackberry at 2.4%. Those are new record lows for both of those platforms. Symbian will just fade away as Nokia begins to transition to Windows Phone, while Blackberry is struggling to make a come-back in 2012. We’ll see if it happens.