Android has upped its lead in the growing Chinese smartphone market.
Google's mobile OS reached a milestone at the end of the first quarter as it gobbled up a 51.4 percent slice of all smartphones owned in China, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said on Friday. That figure showed a gain of 2.8 percent over the fourth quarter of 2012.
Among all Android vendors, Samsung proved the fastest growing with a 15.2 percent share among Chinese smartphone owners. And Kantar expects more growth on the way.
"Samsung has recently launched the Galaxy S4, selling over 10 million units globally in less than one month," Craig Yu, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement. "We predict the launch of Galaxy S4 Mini in the not too distant future will greatly increase its product reach in urban China."
Nokia's Symbian took the No. 2 spot in China last quarter with a market share of 23 percent, down 2 percent from the prior quarter. As Nokia phases out its older mobile OS, Kantar expects Symbian to drop to third place sometime in the next two quarters. Apple's iOS came in third with a 19.9 percent share.
Smartphones in general continue to see heavier demand among Chinese buyers. Smartphone ownership reached 42 percent in China last quarter, up 1.2 percent from the prior quarter. Much of that growth came from owners of feature phones upgrading to smartphones. Almost half of feature phone owners who changed their devices last quarter opted for a smartphone.
"Feature phones are losing their price advantage as Android smartphones are rapidly becoming more affordable and delivering better value," Yu said. "We expect to see accelerated smartphone adoption in China in the coming months."