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Android loses market share against Apple

Android and Apple's iOS together accounted for 75 per cent of the smartphone market

Android lost smartphone market share for the first time, as Apple had a great fourth quarter buoyed by the launch of the iPhone 4S, according to data from market research company Gartner.

Worldwide smartphone sales to end users increased to 149 million during the last three months of 2011, a 47.3 per cent increase on a year earlier, Gartner said.

Android is still the most popular operating system, with a market share of 50.9 percent. The Android camp, headed up by Samsung Electronics, sold 75.9 million phones, but that wasn’t enough to prevent a drop from the 52.5 per cent market share the OS commanded during the third quarter.

Apple sold 35.5 million smartphones to end users, which made it both the biggest smartphone vendor and the third-largest overall phone maker in the world. It had a smartphone market share of 23.8 per cent.

This was due to strong iPhone sales, driven in particular by the iPhone 4S sales in mature markets and the weakness of key Android vendors as they struggled to create differentiated devices, according to Gartner.

Symbian was the third-largest smartphone operating system, with a market share of 11.7 percent and 17.5 million phones sold. Sales of smartphones based on the platform are dropping faster than expected, Nokia said when it presented its results for the fourth quarter.

Despite new devices and improvements on Symbian’s user interface, it has become clear that Nokia will not be able to continue relying on Symbian and needs to move even faster to Windows Phones, IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo said at the time.