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Jul 14, 2012

Half of all Smartphone Users in EU, US, and Australia Prefer Android

The latest figures published by market analysis firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech have revealed that Android smartphones are by far the most popular type of handset in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The analysis used data from a period lasting twelve weeks, which ended on the 10th of June. Over that three month period smartphones that use Android accounted for over half of all smartphones sales in the countries analysed. This is certainly a milestone to be recognised by Android’s creator, Google, because never have Android mobile devices been so popular.

Breaking Down the Figures
Out of the three continents looked at, Europe saw the biggest change. The five biggest markets were analysed, these being Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. The biggest increase was witnessed in Spain, where the number of Android smartphone sales more than doubled, from 41.3 percent in the previous year to 84.1 percent this year. This means that now 4 out of 5 smartphone owners in Spain use Android. Germany followed, with an increase of 27.2 percent in Android users, from 41.3 percent this time last year to 68.5 percent now. Italy came third in the rankings, up 24.3 percent, from 25.3 percent in 2011 to 49.6 percent this year. Fourth place was France, with Android sales increasing 21.3 percent from last year’s figure of 37.5 percent. The smallest increase was seen in Great Britain, where Android smartphones sales increased 8.5 percent between 2011 and 20122, up from 48.7 percent to 57.2 percent.
In similarity to markets across Europe, the sale of Android smartphones in Australia also rose significantly, from 36.4 percent last year to 56.9 percent this year, marking an overall 20.5 percent increase. Out of all the countries surveyed, the United States was the only country where the sale of Android smartphones actually decreased, down 6.8 percent, from 57 percent last year to 50.2 percent this year. Interestingly, the United States was the country that saw the largest rise in the sales of iOS mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. The only other country that saw a rise and not a fall in the sale of iOS mobile devices was Great Britain, where sales of Android mobile devices rose the smallest.

The Fall of Symbian
Many people may have completely forgotten about Symbian, or perhaps never heard of it if they are new to mobile phone technology. Once a leader in the market of smartphones, the demise of Symbian now seems imminent. There have been huge losses for Symbian in every country analysed apart from the United States, where the sales of Symbian devices actually rose, but even now they only hold a 0.5 percent market share. In Italy, where Android sales where highest, Symbian sales dropped a whopping 36.8 percent, from 40.2 percent to 3.4 percent. Last year Symbian and Android were neck and neck with just over 1 percent between them. The picture is much different now, with Symbian losing much of its smartphone market share within the space of a year.

Reasons for the Rise of Android
The Consumer Insights Director at Kantar Worldpanel, Mr Dominic Sunnebo, had this to say about why Android has ended up on top. “We are seeing much of the Android sales growth being driven by consumers trading up from feature phones to smartphones. Android handsets currently offer an easier platform to enable these consumers to upgrade, as many first time smartphone consumers state ‘price of handset’ and ‘multimedia capabilities’ as their main reason for choosing an Android device.”

The Rise of the Smartphone
More and more people are migrating from standard mobile phones to smartphones, and it is a trend that is predicted to continue. The future of these powerful mobile devices looks bright, and that fact that every year more and more hi-tech handsets are released onto world markets signals there is no lack of demand for them. New smartphones are blurring the boundaries of exactly what the device is, a mobile computer or simply a powerful mobile phone, and has caused home gadget insurance companies to revaluate how they provide cover for such expensive items. With all the different accessories and apps available to customise smartphones, they can be used for thousands of different purposes, from a credit card scanning machine at a shop checkout to a computer gaming device. Only time will tell if Android can hold the lead and become a word that is synonymous with smartphone and tablet.

Contributed by
Julie-Anne Christie is a freelance writer from England who specialises in technology and business writing for a number of online journals. She doesn't still wish her phone had a copy of the original 'Snake' installed, really she doesn't...