Apple's iOS is losing out to Android in the smartphone race, according to research group Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

The latest market share figures for smartphone operating systems show that Android has increased its share of smartphone sales in Great Britain to 37.4% (up from 8.3 % compared to the same period a year ago), while Apple's iOS has seen its market share reduce to 22.0% in the same period. The figures have been published today for the 12 weeks ending 20th February 2011.

"If you have any interest in technology, the phenomenon that is Android is unlikely to have passed you by," said Dominic Sunnebo, Consumer Insight Director – Global, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. "It has been widely reported that Android is challenging the traditional dominance of Apple's iOS, BlackBerry (RIM) and Symbian in the smartphone sector, but our market share figures reveal that far from playing catch up, Android is now dominating the sector in many key territories."

The vast majority of new Android and Apple iOS consumers came from a non-smartphone background. For example in Great Britain 74.9% of iOS and 73.8% of Android's new customers previously owned a non-smartphone. However there is some switching between the smartphone manufacturers, with 17.3% of new Android customers coming from Symbian, 6.3% from Windows and 1.6% from RIM.

Sunnebo explained: "What is clear is that neither Android nor Apple's iOS are currently stealing many customers from each other - Symbian, RIM and Windows beware. At Kantar Worldpanel ComTech we are able to see what impact switching to a new OS has on a consumer's usage of their smartphone. For example, in Germany switchers to both Apple's iOS and Android hugely increase their usage of data heavy functions including the Internet and GPS. However, what is interesting is that existing iOS customers were already using advanced features more than Android customers, and continue to show higher usage on iOS platforms compared to Android devices.

"One reason for this may be that in Apple's case, by keeping total control of the product that reaches the end user, they are able to ensure the functionality is exactly as it should be. In Android's case, where the OS is on multiple devices by multiple brands, it is inevitable that some users will get a different experience of the OS than others. For example, a far higher proportion of consumers who own a HTC device download / use apps compared to those who own a Samsung Android mobile."

In country specific OS market share data for the UK, the panel reported that BlackBerry has shown rapid growth over the past year, and now holds second place in the smartphone market with 23.3% share, below Android on 37.4% but marginally higher than iOS on 22.0%. Meanwhile in the USA, BlackBerry's historical stronghold, RIM has lost market share with a drop from 32.5% in the 12 weeks to 13th June 2010 to 12.9% in the latest period. The unprecedented growth of Android is highlighted in the US market as it now holds a 55.1% of the market share.