iPad Mini Retina can't save iOS as Android dominates

iPad Mini Retina has sold well, but a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows big gains for Android. And while large 'phablets' help buoy Android, Apple has no equivalent, leading to rumors of an upcoming phone that fits between the iPhone and iPad Mini.

The Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone.

Android is winning the mobile OS wars. 

That's the CliffsNotes to a new report from analytics firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, which says the Google operating system gained clout in a range of global markets in the last three months of 2013.

According to Kantar, the gains are particularly strong in Europe, where a full 68.6 percent of phones are running a version of Android, compared with the 18.5 percent running Apple's iOS

"Android finished 2013 strongly, showing year-on-year share growth across 12 major global markets including Europe, USA, Latin America, China and Japan," Kantar's Dominic Sunnebo said in a statement this week. "Apple has lost share in most countries compared with this time last year, but importantly it has held strong shares in key markets including 43.9 percent in USA, 29.9 percent in Great Britain and 19 percent in China." 

Back in September, Google announced it had activated a billion Android devices worldwide since the launch of the OS. Pair that with the prediction, made by research firm ABI, that by the end of this year, almost 800 million Android devices will be in use, and you've got what seems to be unrelenting Android domination. Of course, as Eric Zeman of Information Week notes, it may be helpful to put the whole iOS versus Android thing in perspective. 

"Apple upgrades its devices only once per year. During that long 12-month stretch between new iPhones, Apple's competitors, namely Samsung, roll out dozens of new devices," he writes. "Further, many of the competing smartphones out-class the iPhone in terms of screen size and some features. Apple may be able to turn its sliding market share around this year if some of the iPhone 6 rumors turn out to be accurate." 

In other words, a sleek and innovative iPhone could turn the smart phone race on its head all over again. 

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