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Android Continued Global Market Dominance in 2012 Q4

Backing up claims made by Google, during 2012's fourth-quarter, Android continued its global market dominance, while iOS remained the market leader in the United States.

In the 12 weeks ending on December 23, Google's Android platform accounted for over half of all smartphone sales. In Spain, it accounted for 87 percent of all smartphone sales, while in China 72 percent of smartphone sales were Android devices.

During the 12 weeks ending on December 23, iOS accounted for 44.9 percent of the market in the U.S., while Android followed in a close second with 44.8 percent. However, due to record activations on Christmas day, the 12 weeks ending on December 25 saw Apple's platform accounting for 51.2 percent, with Android settling for 44.2 percent.

"At the end of 2012 the global OS picture shows Android on top, but clearly the rate of growth it experienced over the past year is beginning to slow as easy wins from first time smartphone buyers begin to reduce," said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries. However, its performance in the Chinese and US markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world, these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013."

“Among the handset manufacturers, Samsung has held onto the number one spot in Britain, claiming 35% of smartphone sales, although Apple is now biting at its heels with 32%. Nokia is experiencing something of a turnaround in Britain with its smartphone sales share at 6.2% and actual sales growing by over 50% compared with last year. Meanwhile, BlackBerry continues to find trading tough in the run up to the BlackBerry 10 release; however, its 9320 handset gave it a boost over Christmas with two-thirds bought as a gifts."

Smartphones proved to be popular over the holiday season during Q4 with a third of all handsets purchased in December given as Christmas gifts. "The BlackBerry 9320 was the most popular gifted handset in December, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Apple iPhone 4S. The majority of smartphone gift recipients were under 18 years old and 57% were women. More than one in five handsets bought as gifts in Britain during December were from Tesco."

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