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Move over iPhone – 2011 will be "the year of the Android", says British supermarket

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Tesco Mobile, the joint venture between mobile operator O2 and British supermarket Tesco, caused quite a stir back in late in 2009 when it announced that it would be selling Apple’s iPhone in its stores and online.

And while Tesco Mobile’s pricing of Apple’s premium smartphone wasn’t quite as disruptive as was hoped, the supermarket chain did differentiate itself somewhat by offering a 12 month contract and, if I remember correctly, one of the first pre-pay iPhone deals. Nearly a year and a half later, however, Tesco Mobile is declaring 2011 as “the year of the Android”.

The MNVO tells Mobile Today that for the first time, Android smartphones offered on its network are outselling the iPhone. This wasn’t the case as recently as Christmas when Apple’s smartphone outsold those running Google’s mobile OS by a ratio of two to one.

Fast forward to January 2011 and sales of Android “saw a rapid increase” and by February overtook iPhone sales on the Tesco Mobile network. In other words, Google’s mass-market smartphone strategy is clearly paying off on the high street. The supermarket said that the rise was due to affordability, fuelled by its ‘wide range of competitive deals on Android handsets’, reports Mobile Today.

In other words, stack ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap. Although that’s not quite how Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile CEO Graham Harris puts it:

“As one of the UK’s leading operators, these sales are a useful barometer for smartphone trends. There is a lot of choice in the market and as a result consumers are driving healthy competition between rival operating systems”, he says.