iPhone still the most popular smartphone in the US and Japan

iPhone still the most popular smartphone in the US and Japan

Despite growing fears among investors and analysts that Apple is losing its mojo and that this week's quarterly earnings report will show the first drop in profits in nine years, the technology company has continued to hold onto the top spot in the US for the final quarter of 2012 and is the most popular smartphone in Japan. The news follows a report published last week that revealed Google's Nexus 7 tablet had overtaken the iPad in terms of sales in Japan and was now the most popular tablet in the country.

Apple also made gains in the UK, which is historically one of Samsung's strongest European markets. And while 35 percent of UK smartphone sales were of Samsung handsets, Apple has cemented its position in second place, responsible for 32 percent of all smartphone sales. The European figures are also good news for Nokia and for Microsoft. In the UK, Nokia saw its sales share rise to 6.2 percent with actual sales growing by 50 percent compared with the same period in 2011. Meanwhile Windows Phone 8 handsets saw their UK market share grow to 5.9 percent in the UK and 13.9 percent in Italy.

Of the figures, Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, commented: "At the end of 2012 the global OS picture shows Android on top, but clearly the rate of growth it experienced over the past year is beginning to slow as easy wins from first-time smartphone buyers begin to reduce. It has been far slower than Microsoft would have liked, but Windows Phone is now starting to gain respectable shares in a number of key European countries. However, its performance in the Chinese and US markets remains underwhelming. As the two largest smartphone markets in the world, these remain key challenges for Microsoft to overcome during 2013."