Google Android is fast becoming the smartphone operating system of choice in Europe, with a year-on-year growth of 16.2 percent. Apple’s iPhone saw only a slight rise of 1.2 percent, marginally below the 1.5 percent increase for BlackBerry smartphones.

comScore reports that in July 2011 nearly 1 in 4 smartphone users in the five leading European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK; hereafter EU5) reported using smartphones running on the Google Android platform.

HTC had the highest market share among mobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), accounting for 34.6 percent of Google Android smartphones used across the region in this period, followed closely by Samsung with 31.7 percent of Android devices.

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In the three-month average period ending in July 2011, 88.4 million mobile subscribers across the EU5 reported using smartphones, up 44 percent from the previous year.

In July 2011, 19.7 million EU5 smartphone users were using Android mobile devices, with the greatest number of users in the UK (6.3 million), followed by France (4.5) and Germany (4.0 million).

Across EU5, HTC smartphones owned the largest share of the Android device market at 34.6 percent, followed closely by Samsung smartphones at 31.7 percent.

A closer look at the individual EU5 countries shows HTC and Samsung leading in device share for various markets. In the UK, HTC accounted for more than 50 percent of Android devices in use, a significantly higher percentage than other markets.

While Samsung had the second largest share of Android devices in the UK, it accounted for less than half of HTC’s share (21.6 percent). However, in all other EU5 markets, Samsung ranked as the leading Android device, with a 42.3 percent market share in France and greater than 30 percent market share in Germany, Italy and Spain.

Nokia’s Symbian mobile OS remains the most widely used smartphone platform but saw its share drop 16.1 percent to 37.8 percent of the market. Microsoft’s share of the smartphone platform market also declined, dropping 4.8 percent to 6.7%.

Android’s increase saw it move ahead of Apple’s iOS at 22.3 percent smartphone share to Apple’s 20.3 percent.

“Smartphone adoption has seen significant growth from the previous year, driven in large part by the increasing popularity of the Google Android platform,” said Jeremy Copp, comScore Europe vice president for Mobile.

“Although Symbian continues to lead the EU5 smartphone market, Android is gaining fast and recently passed Apple to become the second most popular platform. Network operators, publishers and advertisers looking to effectively reach the European mobile audience must pay close attention to the continued growth of Android in the region, as it will likely have far-reaching implications for the mobile media landscape.”