Despite the continuing success and popularity of Apple devices, new research shows Android smartphones have taken a strong industry lead.

According to Nielsen research, Android-based phones made sales gains in the past three months at the expense of iPhones. Survey results showed that as of the three months leading up to the end of August, 28 percent of respondents had purchased an iPhone, with 56 percent choosing Android phones.

Those shares diverged from the previous three-month period, in which Apple took a 31 percent share of consumers and Android captured 49 percent. As Google's operating system made more gains than Apple lost, other brands – such as Blackberry – made up for Android's new popularity with their loss in the market.

"Android is available from any U.S. carrier," noted Don Kellogg, director of telecom research at Nielsen, "and although Apple launched the iPhone on Verizon earlier this year, they haven't had a new model for some time."

That fact may be just what caused Apple's dip in market share, as their loyal following waits for the new release of the iPhone 5 and rumors of a lower-power and priced iPhone 4 model. Apple devices and mobile accessories remain top sellers in the smartphone industry.