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Android will be Europe's top smart-phone platform next year, says man called Jeronimo

Android's star continues to rise while Symbian is being ground into the dirt -- Google's OS will overtake Nokia's in Europe next year to be the number one smart phone platform.

Android will storm past Nokia and the iPhone to become Europe's number one smart-phone platform in 2011.

This is according to an IDC analyst, the wonderfully named Francisco Jeronimo, speaking to Bloomberg. At the moment, Android phones are behind Nokia's Symbian and the iPhone in terms of Western European shipments, but that's going to change next year, if Jeronimo has read his runes correctly.

That's entirely predictable to anybody with a passing interest in smart phones. Shops that used to have shelves groaning with Symbian devices are now full of Android phones, at a huge spectrum of prices. Android has exploded in the last year, and is currently second only to Symbian worldwide.

Smart phone hard-hitters such as Samsung and, er, Sony Ericsson are releasing new models with Android rather than Symbian. Nokia is the only major company bothering to release Symbian devices in Europe any more, and its recent much-hyped flagship device, the N8, was met with lukewarm reviews.

In related news, the Symbian Foundation website has closed down, with Nokia having previously made the decision to bring development in-house. It's unclear exactly where Symbian is going now, but Nokia has said any future research will be tied into its new MeeGo smart phone OS.

As for the buoyant Android market, sales are being led by HTC, with 39 per cent of shipments in the last nine months, followed by Sony Ericsson at 27 per cent and Samsung with 14 per cent. But that's changing thanks to the success of the Samsung Galaxy S, Jeronimo says. He picked out the high-end Android handset as a similar offering to the iPhone, but at a lower price.

Is Symbian dead as a viable smart-phone platform? Is Nokia doing the right thing by sticking with the OS, or is it flogging a dead horse? Can anything stop Android's march to global domination? Your comments, dear readers, are most welcome.