Carphone hails Android, prepay smartphones

LONDON Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:08am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Sales of mobile phones based on Google's Android software and growing demand for pre-pay smartphones were the highlights of Christmas trading at Carphone Warehouse, its chief executive told Reuters.

"Android phones sold very well," Roger Taylor said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, pointing to growing demand for Samsung's Nexus S smartphone at the top end of the market. He also said smartphones grew to account for about 15-20 percent of pre-pay mobile phone sales over Christams, up from around 10-12 percent previously.

Taylor was speaking after Carphone Warehouse, Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer, said it expected full-year earnings at the top of analysts' forecast range, driven by strong growth at its U.S. joint venture.

The Best Buy Mobile venture with U.S. electricals retailer Best Buy had grown to capture close to 10 percent of the U.S. market for high-end smartphones, he said.

Economic conditions in both the United States and Europe were tough, but offset for Carphone by strong interest in smartphone and increasingly tablet computers, he added.

"A good product cycle is outweighing the economic headwinds," Taylor said.

Outside the UK, sales at European stores open over a year fell around 1 percent, he said.

While demand held up well in Holland, Sweden and France, underlying sales were down slightly in Ireland and more so in Portugal and Spain, with the latter seeing a decline of about 5 percent, Taylor said.

(Editing by Paul Sandle)

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