BERLIN: Mobile application use is soaring across Europe, with Android-powered devices taking the lead over Apple in most key markets, new reports have indicated.

Xylogic, an app analytics specialist, said that Android apps took a majority share of the market in January 2012 in the UK, Germany and Russia.

Meanwhile, new figures from digital market research firm comScore show that 38.2% of the European mobile audience used apps during Q4 2011, up from 28.1% in the same period in 2010.

The comScore report also highlighted Android's growing dominance in the European smartphone market. Devices powered by Google's operating system took a 31.2% share in the fourth quarter of 2011 in the EU5 bloc, which includes France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

By contrast, Nokia took a share of 29.9% and iPhone was on 20.7%. In Q4 2010, Android had an overall share of just 12%.

Moreover, the latest figures indicate that mobile app use is more popular than mobile web use in Europe, with just 38.1% of the audience accessing a browser via their phones during the three month period.

"Apps are a critical component of the mobile media ecosystem, playing an important role in consumers' mobile device purchase decision while shaping their engagement with mobile media content," the report added.

For its report, Xylogic found that Android achieved 99.14m app downloads in the UK, Europe's largest market, during January 2012, against 90.97m for the iPhone and iPad combined. In Germany, the second-largest, these totals were 64.99m against 59.52m.

Research released by Compete in 2011 has also indicated that in-app ads are more effective than browser-based spots, highlighting the importance of gaining share in the app sector.

The Kantar-owned research firm's Smartphone Intelligence survey indicated that 52% of users recall app-based ads, a total that dropped to 40% for ads within web pages.

Data sourced from Techcrunch/comScore; additional content by Warc staff