Kantar: Android top-selling mobile OS in Q1; Windows gains

Android took the crown for mobile operating systems last quarter, but Windows Phone made some notable improvements.

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Android was the top-selling mobile operating system domestically during the first quarter of 2012, according to a new report from consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

Google's mobile platform accounted for nearly half of smartphone sales with 49.3 percent of the pie. Apple's iOS followed closely with 43.7 percent.

Analysts pointed out that iOS declined throughout the quarter, which could be due to consumers waiting for the next generation of the iPhone, expected to be unveiled within the next few months.

But the bigger story from the report, as emphasized by Kantar analysts, was Windows Phone.

Microsoft's entry gained 1.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012. Following up its October debut, Windows Phone claimed 5.6 percent of all smartphone sales in Q1 2013.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Mary-Ann Parlato suggested in the report that Windows tends to entice a particular consumer demographic.

Windows strength appears to be the ability to attract first time smartphone buyers, upgrading from a featurephone. Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Windows smartphone, 52% had previously owned a featurephone. Comparatively, the majority of iOS and Android new customers were repeat smartphone buyers, with 55% of new iOS customers, and 51% of new Android customers coming from another smartphone. While the differences between these figures are small, with over half of the US market still owning a featurephone, it’s likely that many will upgrade over the coming year, which will ultimately contribute to more growth for the Windows brand.

Analysts also pointed towards growing interest for Windows Phone in Europe thanks to support from legacy hardware partners -- not to mention collateral success for Finnish phone maker Nokia.

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