Kantar: iPhone, Windows Phone sales growing faster than Android

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Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android continues to dominate U.S. smartphone sales but the platform is experiencing slower growth than both Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone, research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech reports.

At the close of the three-month period ending in April 2013, Android represented 51.7 percent of all smartphones nationwide, up from 50.3 percent in the year-ago period--a change of 1.4 percentage points. iOS remained in second place at 41.4 percent, increasing from 39.1 percent at the end of April 2012--a jump of 2.3 percentage points. Windows Phone followed at 5.6 percent, compared to 3.8 percent a year ago, an increase of 1.8 percentage points. BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) plummeted from 5.3 percent to just 0.7 percent.

Among all U.S. consumers who purchased a Windows Phone device during the past 12 months, 42 percent upgraded from a feature phone, 25 percent transitioned from another Windows device and 23 percent switched from Android, Kantar notes. The firm adds that iOS is similarly effective at capturing Android users and existing Apple device owners, but only 31 percent of new iPhone adopters upgraded from feature phones, underlining Windows Phone's attractiveness to first-time smartphone buyers.

"But it's not just about capturing the market that is yet to upgrade," said Kantar analyst Mary-Ann Parlato. "Windows is also seeing success in the younger group. When looking at those who changed device, between 2011 and 2012 Windows was more successful at capturing older consumers aged 50-64. But when looking at those changing now and in the last year, we're seeing Windows now gaining share among those aged 25-34."

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) remains in the overall U.S. smartphone sales lead at 36.3 percent, up from 34.5 percent in the year-earlier period, trailed by AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) at 26.3 percent, up slightly from 26 percent. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) accounted for 13.1 percent of nationwide smartphone sales between February 1 and April 30, up from 11.7 percent a year ago, and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) fell from 14.8 percent to 11.3 percent. T-Mobile now offers Apple's iPhone, which should improve its fortunes in the months ahead.

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