iPhone 4SWhich smartphone operating system do you prefer? It’s a question many have pondered throughout 2011 as the battle for OS supremacy rages on. Android currently holds the top spot, offering up a plethora of price-friendly options to compete against rival Apple. As a result, Apple is falling out of favor across Europe as consumers become more frugal due to the weakened economy, research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said.

The iPhone 4S was met with great fanfare in Britain and United States. At the end of November, Apple’s market share rose to 36 percent in the U.S., up from 25 percent a year ago. In Britain, shares jumped to 31 percent, a ten point jump from a year earlier. In contrast, interest was rather flat in continental Europe. More expensive iPhone models saw Apple shares take to a slight dip in certain countries – shares fell in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Kantar said.

“In Great Britain, the U.S. and Australia, Apple’s new iPhone continues to fly off the shelf in the run-up to Christmas. However, this trend is far from universal,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director. “The French market is showing increasing signs of price sensitivity,” Sunnebo said.

Currently, Google dominates between 46 and 61 percent in all markets, Reuters said, as handset makers like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and HTC use the free Android as their OS of choice.

“In Germany, Android achieved a dominant 61 percent share of smartphone sales in the latest 12 weeks, with the Samsung Galaxy S II the top selling handset,” Sunnebo said.

The European market has grown increasingly sensitive because of a weakening economy. Consumer confidence has fallen as the euro zone crisis continues, leading to government spending cuts and job losses. In Q3, euro zone GDP grew a mere 0.2 percent, and economists expect that trend to continue into 2012.

Expect the battle to get even more fierce next year as Android 4.0 models begin to hit the market. If Apple wants to make up lost market share, it’ll have to offer a lot more than just an incremental upgrade with Siri.