January 25, 2012 / 9:00 AM / 8 years ago

Apple beat Google smartphones in U.S.-researcher

* Apple US mkt share doubles to 44.9 pct -Kantar

* Google Android share slips to 44.8 pct -Kantar

* Windows Phone below 2 pct in all 9 key markets

By Tarmo Virki, European Technology Correspondent

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Booming demand for the latest iPhone model helped Apple beat all phones using Google’s Android platform in the U.S. smartphone market in the fourth quarter, data showed on Wednesday.

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said Apple’s share of the U.S. market doubled from a year ago to 44.9 percent in the October to December period, just beating Google’s Android smartphones, which slipped to 44.8 percent from 50 percent.

Late on Tuesday Apple reported quarterly results which blew past Wall Street’s expectations after consumers snapped up near-unprecedented numbers of iPhones and iPads, sending its shares up 8 percent and into record territory.

In stark contrast sales of handset makers using Android, including Motorola Mobility, HTC and Sony Ericsson , have stumbled in the quarter.

“Apple has continued its strong sales run in the U.S., UK and Australia over the Christmas period,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at the research firm said.

“Overall, Apple sales are now growing at a faster rate than Android across the nine countries we cover,” Sunnebo added.

Kantar said Microsoft’s Windows Phone share in all of the nine key markets it measures remained at less than 2 percent despite the high-profile launch of the Lumia range from Nokia.

Nokia’s flagship Lumia 800 model failed to break into top 10 smartphones sold in Britain by the end of the fourth quarter, the researcher said.

Nokia said in November the model was off to an excellent start in Britain, and had seen the best ever first week of Nokia smartphone sales in the UK in recent history.

Nokia unveiled a strategy shift to use Microsoft software on its smartphones last February in a bid to create a rival to Apple and Google’s Android.

“The Nokia Lumia 800 still needs to be joined by a number of other competitive Windows Phone handsets before we are likely to see the OS (operating system) providing any real challenge to the likes of Apple, Android and BlackBerry,” Sunnebo said.

He expects the platform to have around a 10 percent share of European smartphone sales in the second half of 2012.

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