UK Approaching Smartphone Tipping Point

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Data released today forecasts that in a year’s time 50 percent of the UK’s mobile phones will be smartphones

Smartphones are predicted to account for at least half of all mobile phone users by this time next year, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech reported by the Guardian today.

The data is reported to show that since April last year around 2.5 percent of feature phone users have shifted to smartphones every four weeks. If this continues the “tipping point” is forecast to be around June next year.

RIM is benefitting the most from users upgrading to smartphones, with the study claiming 85 percent of its new customers are users upgrading from ‘feature phones’. Android is  second with 74.4 percent of its new customers migrating from feature phones.

According to Kantar, Android recently supplanted Symbian as Spain’s most popular smartphone OS and now leads the way in eight countries, including the UK.

Researcher Canalys said in January that  Android was now the world’s most popular smartphone OS, edging out Nokia and Symbian, although Gartner contradicted this just a couple of weeks later.

The volume of people switching from Apple OS to Android is small, Kantar says, with 1.4 percent of Android’s new users reported as  converts from Apple.

The data notes that the iPhone 4 has been the best selling smartphone in the UK for the last 12 months however the overall market grew to such an extent that Apple’s share actually fell from 30.6 percent to 18.3 percent.

Ups and downs in the smartphone market

Symbian continues to lose out to its rivals with the Kantar data reported to show that it provides 18 percent of new iPhone users and 10.9 percent of new RIM users.

Compounding Symbian’s woes, Nokia has  signed the death warrant for Symbian, outsourcing Symbiam support to Accenture and opting for Windows Phone 7 as its smartphone OS.

RIM however will welcome its strong showing today. Despite reports of underwhelming performance in the US market in the face of Apple and Android threats to its enterprise market,  RIM recently announced via Twitter that it had signed up 1m users in less than three weeks in the EMEA region, lifting the gloom slightly.

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