Android Army Marches Past iPhone in European Sales
No big surprise given the disparity in models and pricing, but there are now more Android devices in Europe than Apple smartphones. But does that trumpet sound herald the arrival of the iPhone 5?

Smart as You Like

While Symbian devices still rule the roost in Europe, Android smartphones have rocketed up 16.2% from this time last year, according to the latest comScore report, which focuses on Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the U.K. Apple is also up 1.2%, BlackBerry up 1.5%, with Microsoft down 4.8%, but Symbian is the big loser -- down 16.1% and likely to vanish in the next few years.

All those numbers could change dramatically with the introduction of the Mango update for Windows Phone 7 and the imminent launch of the iPhone 5. In Europe, the number of smartphone users has shot up 44% (in the U.K.) since last year, with less dramatic rises in other territories. Numbers will probably continue to accelerate as low-end smartphone and the presumed-less-expensive iPhone 4S hit the market.

UPDATE: The date of the iPhone 5 launch has been staring us in the face really, the latest rumor/leak suggests October 5 as the day of the press event. That makes a great deal of sense for the formal introduction of both iOS 5 and iPhone 5, perhaps with a suitable launch mechanism - Thunderbird 5, Saturn 5 or similar to do the honors.

The press event is likely to be followed by the immediate unveiling of websites from Apple and its partner telcos (Verizon, AT&T and Sprint), and the start of pre-orders with the hardware onsale a week or two later. That all depends on how many Apple can ship, with disturbing rumors of manufacturing issues putting all these dates on hold.

If October 5 is the launch date, Apple's traditional launch location, Moscone Center is out as Oracle is hosting its OpenWorld event in the building. The Yerba Buena Center has no events scheduled so could play host, as it did for the iPad launch.

Divide and Conquer

Back in Europe, Among Android makers, HTC and Samsung are way ahead of the pack with other makes some distance behind. Around the various European territories, the U.K. leads in the number of smartphone users, and the in usage of apps, browsing and games in percentage terms.

As the last market scan before the arrival of many new phones and OS updates, it'll be interesting to compare these figures in a few months when this next generation gets into its stride. Despite its collective best efforts, the iPhone 4 is still going great guns around the world, racking up 20 million-plus sales in the last quarter, even as its replacement looms.