According to The NPD Group, Android has knocked off the iPhone from its number two spot in U.S. smartphone sales. It's good moment for Google. It's an even better moment for competition. Just look at the numbers.

These latest figures are based on first quarter sales for 2010.

Don't get me wrong, watching Google on the march quickly becoming a juggernaut in yet another tech arena indeed makes me queazy.

However, looking at the big picture, consider this:

- Blackberry's parent company, Research in Motion, remains in the top spot with 36% of sales.

- Android is now number two at 28%.

- iPhone drops to number three at 21%.

- Windows Mobile is hanging in there at around 10%.

- Palm. Well, er uh, Palm came in somewhere slightly below "other" (4-5%) and slightly above tin cans and string.  Don't worry, Palm. It'll all be better in the new building.

These latest sales figures make a statement about competition. It's alive and well. And amen to that! Think back to the 90's when the desktop PC was king and Microsoft Windows held captive more than 90% of market share among operating systems. Apple, Opera, Linux fought over slivers of what was left.

P.S. And why do you think Android is doing so well? Why has it surpassed the iPhone? Short answer: It's an operating system that is available on multiple smartphone models among multiple smartphone manufacturers. Service is also available from more than one carrier.

The bottom line: Google is offering choices. Apple offers a lot of things to customers; but not choices.