UK Android Sales Up 350 Percent This Quarter

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Google’s Android operating system now dominates more that 13 percent of the UK contract smartphone market

Sales of Android-based phones have soared in the UK over the last quarter, with Android’s share of the British smartphone contract market rocketing from three percent to 13.2 percent.

During the three month period, sales of Android phones increased by a staggering 350 percent, according to German global knowledge provider GfK Retail and Technology, while overall contract sales saw growth of less than one percent.

Google’s open source, Linux-based operating system has been lauded by critics, and is evidently beginning to catch on with consumers. An early 2010 report from AdMob, which looked at smartphone traffic over the networks, found Android to be the fastest-growing OS in use, with ad requests increasing from 2 percent in February 2009 to 24 percent in February 2010.

“The figures suggest an increasing number of consumers are now asking for Android handsets by name,” said GfK analyst Megan Baldock. “Operating Systems are no longer simply a by-product but a key selling point in their own right.”

Android devices to flood the market

Google Android has been going from strength to strength in recent months, with manufacturers such as HTC and Motorola scrambling to create devices based on the popular operating system, as well as tablet-makers such as Lenovo, Asus and LG.

Despite the undeniable success of its operating system, however, Google was recently forced to withdraw from the handset market. Although Google CFO Patrick Pichette assured users on 15 April that the Nexus One was a profitable business for Google, weak sales prompted Google to close the Nexus One webstore on 14 May.

A recent poll of eWEEK Europe readers found that 40 percent of enterprise users consider Android to be a better platform for business than the iPhone or BlackBerry. However, analysts differ on this point, with some saying that Android 2.2 (or Froyo) is not truly enterprise-ready – even as the version is set to roll out on smartphones such as the Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible and HTC Evo 4G this summer.

“The biggest failure of Froyo is the lack of on-board data encryption to secure device-resident data,” said Jack Gold, of J. Gold Associates. “They are finally adding device kill and management with support a few policies, but for any enterprises that have Exchange policies being enforced, it’s not enough.”

GfK’s research also found that smartphones now account for two-thirds of all contract sales in the UK, compared to 55 percent in the last quarter. Growth has been continuous since the beginning of 2010, and is expected to rise consistently throughout the rest of the year.

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