According to data provided by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android devices now account for at least half of SmartPhone sales in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Australia. Android’s share ranges from 49.6 percent in Italy to 84.1 percent in Spain.
This should come as no surprise, as Android devices are particularly appealing to budget-minded consumers who want full-featured phones and who represent the lion’s share of SmartPhone subscribers around the world. For example, in the U.K., and elsewhere, SmartPhone penetration in the prepaid market is increasing, with handsets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Ace and Galaxy Y performing well. These models are attracting younger first-time users, a group that has heretofore been inclined to favor BlackBerry.
The study also noted that although Android’s share is high in the U.S., it has decreased by 6.8 percent over the year. This trend points to Apple’s strength in its home country, due in part to the successful release of the iPhone 4S and the new availability of the iPhone 4 and 4S on Sprint, as well as the special place Apple currently holds in American culture.
The growing development of what we would call “smart enough” SmartPhones for the lower-end market should play to Android’s strengths – which include design flexibility and relatively low cost – and we would not be surprised to see its market share expand further, all things being equal. However, as we reported recently, new entrants to the operating systems market, such as Mozilla (which has announced the debut of its totally open-source Firefox OS) might benefit as much or even more than Android from the development of these “smart enough” SmartPhones.