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Android trounces Apple across the globe

Android makers sell a huge variety of phones at different prices and thus can reach a wider audience than Apple can with the iPhone, says research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Android continues to dominate the world, at Apple's expense.

CNET

Android's share of the smartphone market has surged throughout the US, Europe and China.

Google's mobile OS saw its smartphone market share rise in the first quarter in virtually all of the regions tracked by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the research firm said Wednesday.

In the US, Android's smartphone share grew by 7.3 percentage points year over year to 65.5 percent. In the Europe Union Five (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain), its share rose by 7.1 points to 75.6 percent. And in China, Android's cut of the market increased by 5.9 points to 77 percent.

For Apple, the situation wasn't so rosy. The iPhone maker watched its smartphone share drop in almost every region during the first quarter from a year earlier. In the US, Apple's slice fell by 4.9 points to 31.6 percent, in the EU5 by 1.2 points to 18.9 percent, and in China by 5 points to 21.1 percent.

Last month, Apple reported its first quarterly decline in iPhone sales and expects another drop in sales for the current quarter.

Smartphone makers face a challenge of creating a diverse lineup to appeal to as many people as possible. Apple is more vulnerable because it sells only the iPhone, albeit in different versions, whereas Android makers sell a huge variety of phones at different prices and thus can reach a wider audience.

"This is the strongest growth for Android across the EU5 in more than two years," Kantar mobile analyst Lauren Guenveur said in a statement. "What's more, the growth is coming not just from one or two players, but from different brands and ecosystems, varying from region to region."

Smaller manufacturers are starting to more heavily contribute to the growth in Android. In the UK, Samsung remained dominant. In the US, Android's growth came from Samsung, Motorola and LG. But in countries such as Italy and France, consumers who jumped from Windows Phone to Android chose brands such as Huawei, Wiko and Asus, which sell midrange phones.

Apple does have one potential bright spot: the new, budget-conscious iPhone SE.

"Android share could also be negatively affected by high demand for the Apple iPhone SE," Guenveur said. "iPhone SE sales will be particularly important in China, where success in the midtier will determine the top player in the region."