Windows Phone is challenging RIM for Europe's third most popular operating system, with low priced devices such as the Nokia Lumia 610 fuelling demand.
According to research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Windows Phone has a share of 5.0% across Europe for the 12 weeks to 2 September, an increase of 31.6% on 2011. During the same period, RIM's share has collapsed from 12.2% to 6.4%. A number of Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to be launched before the end of the year, including the Nokia Lumia 920 [pictured] and 820, the Samsung Ativ S and the HTC 8X and 8S.
Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said: 'Windows is making steady progress in the big European economies and is now challenging BlackBerry for third spot in the European OS league. With the momentum Windows 8 will bring towards the end of 2012, it seems highly likely that it will achieve this before the end of the year.
'Lower end devices are driving sales of the platform as consumers seek value, resulting in percentage point growth rates of 6.6 in Italy, 3.5 in France and 2.3 in Great Britain. In Italy, Windows now holds a double-digit market share, 10.4%, a first in the European market.'
Samsung's strength across the European markets is continuing, with the manufacturer accounting for 48% of all smartphones. In Great Britain, Android's share increased on 2011 by 25.2% to 62.5%. Apple's growth in share of iOS was shallower, up 15.1% to 21.3%, as consumers awaited the iPhone 5, which went on sale last month. However, Kantar said its share would rebound strongly next month given the anticipation surrounding the launch.
The research agency said smartphone penetration was now at 57.6% in Great Britain. Smartphones accounted for 80.4% of all handset sales in the 12 weeks to 2 September.
Editor: Graeme Neill