Europeans shy of Google Android phones

Consumers in Western Europe are yet to show much interest in smartphones running Google's Android operating system, according to research firm IDC.

Android is gaining traction with handset makers, with Motorola and Sony Ericsson choosing it for their new top models

Android's share of the Western European smartphone market rose to 5.4 per cent in the third quarter.

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

"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."

Global market leader Symbian, used extensively by Nokia, continued to be the leading operating system also in Western Europe, with 48 per cent of the market.

Samsung Electronics' share of the total market increased to 30.5 per cent 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 watching Nokia's market share closely.

Total cellphone sales in Western Europe rose 5 per cent from a year ago to 46.8 million in the third quarter, the first increase  after five quarters of decline, IDC said.

Smartphone sales rose 2 per cent from the previous quarter, boosted by growing sales of Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry.

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