Motorola reported growth in sales and profit for the third quarter, helped by the sale of an increasing number of Android-based smartphones, the company said on Thursday.

Sales for the third quarter totaled $5.8 billion, up 6 percent from the same period in 2009, representing the first year-over-year sales growth since the fourth quarter of 2006, according to Motorola. If the part of the Motorola Networks division that Nokia Siemens Networks is expected to acquire is excluded, sales grew by 13 percent, it said. The company's net profit grew from $12 million to $109 million.

Motorola Droid 2

Motorola shipped 9.1 million handsets, compared to 13.6 million units for the year-earlier period, according to 2009's third-quarter earnings statement. However, revenue was up 20 percent and that helped the Mobile Devices division show an operating profit, excluding one-time items, for the first time in over three and half years, the company said.

Compared to the previous quarter, Motorola shipped 800,000 more phones. In addition, the number of smartphones sold grew sequentially from 2.7 million to 3.8 million units, according to a comparison of data from the company's second and third quarter statements. Sanjay Jha, Motorola co-chief executive officer and Motorola Mobility CEO, singled out the Droid X as a big seller.

The decision to focus on Google's Android OS seems to be paying off. This year and 2011 will be the years of Android, according to Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC. Besides Motorola, Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson have also been able to take advantage of the growing popularity of Android, he said.

Sales and profit in Motorola's Home and the Enterprise Mobility Solutions were also up, according to Motorola. Motorola's split into two parts is still planned to take place during the first quarter, the company said.