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Apple today pretty much confirmed that it plans to announce the iPhone 5 at a press event on October 4th, with a full release coming shortly thereafter. But as iOS fanatics get ready for the latest version of the smartphone, here are some interesting numbers to contemplate.

New research from Nielsen indicates that 56 percent of Americans who purchased a smartphone in the past three months chose an Android. That compares to 28 percent who purchased an iPhone and nine percent who chose BlackBerry. (I assume Windows Phone showed up in the “other” category).

Now, Apple fans will be quick to point out that many possible iPhone buyers have held off purchase decisions in recent months in anticipation of the new iPhone 5. And the researchers at Nielsen also recognize this trend. They write:

Apple iOS remains popular in second place with 28 percent of all smartphone users, and the same percentage among those who recently got a new device. But those figures could change quickly in the months to come. Every time Apple launches a new iPhone or makes it available on a new wireless carrier, there is an increase in their sales.

Even so, Android has quickly emerged as a sizable rival to iOS and that could change the purchasing decisions as customers look to buy new smartphones this winter. (In the past, there just weren’t many comparable rivals to Apple’s device).

As the chart above shows, 43 percent of all smartphone owners now have an Android device. That compares to 28 percent who own an iPhone.

Will the iPhone 5 help change those numbers? Here’s a closer look at smartphone purchasing habits.

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