Android fans have been crowing over a Nielsen report that Android phones outsold the iPhone in the first six months of 2010, and it is likely a harbinger of things to come. Android’s carrier ubiquity and choice of hardware almost guarantee its eventual rise to smartphone OS marketshare leader.

However, the real story for Apple continues to be profit, as a recent report reminds us: Apple earned 48% of mobile hardware revenue in Q2 (you know, where the revenue actually comes from) despite selling only 3% of the units that quarter. The numbers echo its position in the PC market, where it commands 35% of the operating profit with 7% of the market share.

Make no mistake: Apple has enjoyed its position as the king of the smartphone era, and it will certainly not fade quietly. While we haven’t heard any rumblings on the patent lawsuit front in a while, we probably haven’t heard the last of it; like a mama grizzly, Apple is known to aggressively defend its creations when threatened. With the antenna drama mostly behind it, Apple should be able to focus on 7″ iPads or magic levitating iPhones or whatever else it’s cooking up next (my vote is for streaming your iTunes library via LaLa technology, but I’m not holding my breath).

However, even when iOS is no longer the dominant smartphone platform, Apple will still sit at the top of the profit heap, which will give them the capital to thrive even without controlling the market. And the iPhone shares the sheen of attainable luxury with the rest of Apple’s product line, which will likely keep it in the hands of the hip and influential for some time to come.

» Apple Snags 48% of Mobile Profit Pie (GigaOM)