Mobile app sales soar as Internet-enabled phones take the lead in the European market.

The era of the simple “feature phone” that cannot connect to the internet is over in western Europe. Smartphone shipments exceeded those of “feature phones” for the first time in the region over the most recent three months and accounted for 52% of the 42m units sold.

New data released by research company IDC show smartphone shipments up 48% compared to the same period in 2010, reaching nearly 22m, as SamsungApple, HTC and BlackBerry maker RIM dominated the market and Finland’s Nokia saw its previous dominance wiped out. Last year smartphones made up just over a third of mobile phone sales in the region.

The shift to smartphones came as a new report indicated that Android smartphone users will download more apps than Apple iPhone owners this year, as sales of devices using the Google operating system surge ahead.

The number of apps downloaded – from games to alarm clocks and weather information – will jump from 7.4bn in 2010 to 18bn this year, says the report by telecoms analyst Ovum Applications. The report claims that by 2016, there will 45bn downloads a year. Phones running on Google’s Android operating system will download 8.1bn apps this year compared with Apple’s 6bn. Guardian

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