Windows Phone devices have outsold Symbian handsets for the first time with Android remaining the UK's most popular OS, according to new research.
The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the 12 weeks ending 19 February, revealed Apple's share of the UK smartphone market sharply rose from 22.7% in 2011 to 28.7%. Android also increased its share from 37.8% to 48.5%.
However, Symbian's market share collapsed during the year, from 12.4% in 2011 to 2.4% in 2012, as Nokia began maximising its partnership with Microsoft. Windows Phones increased its share fivefold from 0.5% last year to 2.5% in 2012.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global consumer insight director Dominic Sunnebo said: 'There are strong signs that WP7 Nokia handsets are starting to make an impact on the European smartphone market though US sales, where the Nokia brand is weaker, remain underwhelming.
'The fact that WP7 sales have overtaken Symbian based on one handset is encouraging. However, Nokia will need to expand the range quickly in order to keep up with the slew of next generation competitor products being launched in quarter two.'
RIM's market share also fell during the past 12 months, from 24.4% to 17.1%.
According to Kantar's figures, smartphone made up 73.2% of handsets sold during the 12-week period, with 51.3% of Britons now owning a smartphone. Owners of smartphones were generally happier with their devices, with an average satisfaction rating out of 10 of 7.9, compared to feature phones. Apple customers are happiest, scoring 8.8, followed by Samsung (8.0) and HTC (7.6).
Sunnebo said: 'Smartphone users are typically very happy with their handsets and this is because they can do so much more with them. When you look at the way consumers are using their mobiles compared with just a year ago, the change is huge. For example, just under half of people in the past four weeks used GPS or maps on their smartphones, this compares to only 33.9% a year ago.
'Similarly, 39.2% of people are now downloading or streaming videos to their mobiles, this has increased from 10.6% a year ago. All this helps to engrain the smartphone experience deep into consumer’s daily routines and the quality of devices available mean consumers have found little to complain about.'
Editor: Graeme Neill