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Half of Brits now own a smartphone

iPhone still behind Android, despite increasing share of UK market in the last year

More than half of the British population now owns a smartphone according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Nearly three in every 10 smartphone users have an iPhone, according to the data, but Android is still the most popular choice.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director, saids: "Android holds on to its lead but Apple is making inroads, increasing its share of the British market from 21.7 percent a year ago to 29.1 percent now. Windows Phone 7 is also creeping up, taking over 2 percent of the market for the first time with the Nokia Lumia 800 taking the lion's share."

Symbian's market share now stands at 2.8 percent, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's data shows, though many former Symbian users seem to be staying loyal to Nokia, with over a quarter of Windows Phone 7 customers - most of which own the Nokia 800 - having owned Symbian handsets in the past.

"One of the real positives for Microsoft Windows Phone 7 is how engaged its users appear to be with its devices. Eighty one per cent of handset owners have used social networking on their device in the past month, higher than both iOS & Android. Meanwhile, three quarters have used GPS, indicating that its decision to include Nokia maps for free was a price worth paying to drive user engagement," Sunnebo said.

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the jump in Apple's UK market share isn't just down to the release of the iPhone 4S.

"Although the majority of growth is coming from the new handset, Apple's latest pricing structure is also working in its favour with no discernable drop in sales of older iPhone 4 and 3GS models," Sunnebo said.

The data also shows that smartphones made up 71.4 percent of UK mobile phone sales in the 12 weeks ending 22 January 2012, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said.

However, trends in the UK market are not replicated in the US, where the iPhone is king, with 48.4 percent of the smartphone market. Android is just behind on 42.6 percent.

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