December 6, 2009 / 12:51 AM / in 8 years

Europeans shy away from Google Android phones

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Operators pushed market share of cellphones running Google’s software a little higher in September quarter in Western Europe, but consumers showed little interest toward them, research firm IDC said on Saturday.

<p>The new Droid phone, a Motorola Inc. and Verizon Wireless phone based on Google Inc's Android 2.0 system, is shown at a media event in New York October 28, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>

Android has won attention in the mobile industry lately, with Motorola and Sony Ericsson choosing it for their new top models.

Market share of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system (OS) rose to 5.4 percent from 4.2 percent in July-September in Western Europe, a key area for the smartphone market.

“Consumers steer clear of Google’s OS and sell-out is below everyone’s expectations. Consumers recognize the Google brand, but still do not understand what Android is,” IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said in a statement.

“The lack of devices available didn’t help to raise awareness, though this is expected to change, with more handsets from LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and other vendors hitting the market soon,” Jeronimo said.

Last month Gameloft, one of the largest cellphone game makers, also bashed Android saying it and other software developers were cutting back investment in developing games and other applications for the platform.

Global market leader Symbian -- used extensively by Nokia -- continued to be the leading operating system also in Western Europe, controlling 48 percent of the market.

SAMSUNG CATCHING NOKIA

Samsung Electronics’ share of the total market increased to 30.5 percent in the quarter, boosted by strong sales of mid-range phones, while market leader Nokia saw its share dipping to 35.3 percent.

“The gap between these two has been narrowing, and Nokia is facing a significant threat of being overtaken by Samsung in Western Europe in 2010,” Jeronimo said.

The West European home market has been the key for Finnish Nokia to build its global success, and investors are looking closely at Nokia’s market share development on the market.

Total cellphone sales in Western Europe rose 5 percent from a year ago to 46.8 million phones in the September quarter, increasing for the first time after five straight quarters of declines, IDC said.

Sales of smartphone rose 2 percent from the previous quarter, boosted by growing sales of Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s Blackberrys.

Editing by Jerry Norton

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