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iPhone hangs on in US, Japan, but EVERYONE ELSE bought an Android

Smartphone wars: WinPhone got some love in Blighty, but it's bad news for RIM

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A day before Apple's quarterly results land, Tim Cook will also have to deal with the some unwelcome stats on iOS smartphone market share, showing that the iPhone still trails Android in all markets but the US and Japan.

The US remains Apple's global heartland, and Christmas sales stats from consumer group Kantar World Panel saw iPhone retain its smartphone crown in the US - but this year it edged up a healthy 6 per cent to take 51.2 per cent of the market. Android mobes lingered at 44.2 per cent of the market share, down a sliver of a percentage point from 44.8 last year.

But Android sales were up everywhere else, and the Google operating system holds 72.5 per cent market share in China, the world's second biggest smartphone market after the States. Android was also top in Britain, Spain, Australia and Germany in sales for those three months.

Europeans keen on Windows mobes

Windows Mobile clocked up an impressive 13.9 per cent of smartphone sales in Italy, and 5.9 percent of sales in Britain for three months before Christmas. Otherwise Microsoft's WinPhone handsets barely made a ripple in Christmas sales.

Windows smartphones only scooped 2.6 per cent of sales in the US, though that did put the mobile operating system in third place ahead of BlackBerry.

This year's news wasn't great for RIM, which was down to 1.1 per cent of sales in the US, from 6.1 percent for the same period last year. RIM netted exactly 0.0 per cent of sales in China. You were most likely to see a new BlackBerry in the UK, where 6.4 per cent of purchased smartphones were BBs, but it's still a heady fall on the 16 per cent from the same three months in 2011.

Older, cheaper iPhones were an important part of iOS sales, says analyst Mary-Ann Parlato, which may make Tim Cook think again about whether to release a cheap iPhone.

“Apple’s continual improvement is thanks to both the iPhone 5 and older models attracting various customer groups," said Parlato, "from repeat Apple buyers, first time smartphone buyers and those coming from other smartphone brands”.

The data is derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech research. The data focused on smartphone sales in the 12 weeks to Christmas. ®

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