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Android Phones Set to Pass Nokia’s Symbian in Europe, IDC Says

Google Inc.’s Android software will be Europe’s top smartphone platform next year, according to researcher IDC.

Android phones accounted for 23 percent of western Europe shipments in the third quarter, behind Nokia Oyj’s Symbian and Apple Inc.’s iPhone platforms, IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said in an interview. Android is set to pass Symbian and iPhone in the region, he said, adding that it is already second to Symbian worldwide.

Nine-month sales of Android devices in Western Europe were led by HTC Corp. with 39 percent of shipments, followed by Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB with 27 percent and Samsung Electronics Co. with 14 percent, Jeronimo said. Samsung is gaining following the launch of the Galaxy S in the second half, he said.

“The iPhone was last year’s hot device and now people are looking for something different,” said Jeronimo, who is based in London. The Galaxy S is seen as offering similar feel, function, and third-party applications to an iPhone for a lower price, he said.

Nokia shipped its new flagship N8 handset at the end of the third quarter, giving customers a fast touchscreen with revamped Symbian software to compete with the iPhone and Android. Sony Ericsson and other companies that sold Symbian smartphones in Europe have switched to Android on new models, leaving Nokia in control of Symbian.

Smartphones are expected to account for 49 percent of western Europe handset shipments in 2011, up from 35 percent forecast for this year, Jeronimo said.

Western Europe Smartphone System Market Share (IDC data)

               FY 2009        9M 2010        3Q 2010
Symbian        51             38             34
iPhone         21             23             24
Blackberry     15             17             14
WiMo           8              4              3
Android        4              16             23

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