Australia has traditionally been one of the few markets in Asia Pacific where the number of Apple devices outnumbers the number powered by Android. However, that may no longer be the case, according to new data from Telsyte (cited in a report from the Sydney Morning Herald), which explains that Android is now the country’s top mobile platform.

The analyst firm found that the number of active Android-powered devices in the country has hit 10 million, that’s 44 percent of the market, and a fraction ahead of iOS (43 percent).

The growth of Android in Australia has coincided with a rise in smartphone ownership among mainstream consumers. As recently as 2010, Android held a mere 6 percent market share, way behind Apple’s 39 percent. Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi believes that, as is the case in the rest of Asia Pacific, the sheer range and differing price points of Android-powered phones has made the difference.

“Our new research shows that the lower prices, faster product cycles and carrier support has helped Android become the leading platform,” Fadaghi said in a press statement.

While there is no doubt that Android has seen its share of the global mobile market rocket in recent times, the timing of Telsyte’s data may also play in its favor.

The iPhone 5, Apple’s flagship phone, was only launched in September, and the fact that it arrived later than other rival devices — the Samsung Galaxy S3 was released in May, for example — has affected some figures.

Just last month, Strategy Analytics named the Galaxy S3 as the world’s top selling phone in Q3. While the device has clocked up some impressive figures — hitting 30 million channel sales in 150 days — the iPhone 5 grabbed 5 million consumer sales in its first weekend. That impressive start suggests that, over time, it will top the Samsung phone, which remains the highest device profile using the Google-owned Android platform.

The iPhone 5 remains a niche device in many markets in Asia Pacific but, in Australia, Christmas sales could boost Apple and see it regain the top spot. Though there’s little doubt that, in the long run, Android’s breadth of devices makes it likely to overtake Apple in Australia on a permanent, although the Cupertino company retains impressive loyalty.

According to Fadaghi, iOS devices have “the highest repeat purchase intention amongst consumers, with iPhone upgrades significantly driving re-contracting with carriers.”

Headline image via keith.bellvay / Flickr