Just in time for Google to unveil its own Nexus One smartphone, ChangeWave Research reports the public is more excited than ever to buy an Android based handset — at the expense of Apple, Microsoft, and Palm.

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ChangeWave surveyed 4,068 consumers in the first weeks of December and found that 21% of people looking to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days want to buy one running on Android. That's up from 6% when ChangeWave asked people in September.

Considering Verizon is spending tens of millions marketing the Droid, this shouldn't come as a shock. Google is a popular brand unto itself, so it makes sense that people are excited about its smartphones.

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Apple remains the smartphone of choice for now, with 28% of the people saying they will buy an iPhone. The BlackBerry falls to third place with 18% — but interest in BlackBerry devices actually perked up. Meanwhile, Palm needs big help.