NEW DELHI: Apple currently holds the lead over Google when it comes to driving electronic word of mouth concerning tablets in India, but these roles are reversed for smartphones, new figures show.

NM Incite, a joint venture between Nielsen, the research firm, and McKinsey, the consultancy, tracked online buzz related to these categories from July to December 2011.

Overall, Apple's iPad was the subject of 55% of all relevant electronic word of mouth in its segment, beating competing gadgets powered by Google's Android operating system, on 40%.

"Even though Apple has not made a big push to promote and sell the iPad in India, it has already generated tremendous buzz online," Farshad Family, managing director at Nielsen Media in India, told the Times of India.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Motorola's Zoom were the premier Android tablets on this metric. Local rivals such as Aakash and Reliance came some way further back.

"Apple's iPad has the edge with the content but all the Android-based tablet makes are closing in rapidly," said Sanjay Behl, group head, brand and marketing, Reliance Communications. "For us what works is the 3G network coverage that we have to offer."

When assessing smartphones, Android handsets took a 41% share of the digital conversation, although this total had declined from the 45% posted across the first half of the year.

Apple logged 27% on this measure, ahead of Research in Motion's BlackBerry on 14%. These two brands matched their ratings compared with the previous six months.

The main topics of conversation included apps, fuelling 51% of interactions about Android smartphones in the second half of 2011. Such a figure marked an improvement from 45% across the first half of the year.

Samsung, HTC and Motorola were the pre-eminent smartphones discussed with reference to Android devices, the study added.

"It is no longer about hardware for tablets or smartphones as increasingly consumers are taking note of applications available before choosing which device to purchase," said Ranjit Yadav, country head, Samsung Mobile.

For Apple's iPhone OS, the proportion of interactions based around applications stood at 33%, again largely unchanged from the first six months of the year.

Data sourced from Times of India; additional content by Warc staff