Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS has lost its edge to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android in the U.S market. This is according to statistics released by market researcher Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The research report, which relates to the three month period between November and January, notes that Android has gained significantly, considering it was several percentage points behind Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS in the last three months of 2012.

Apple vs Android

According to the statistics, Android constituted 49.9 percent of U.S sales during the three month period. This represented a 6.4 percent year-over year gain. The iOS’s contribution to aggregate smartphone sales in the U.S., however, dipped 4.7 percent year-over-year to come in at 45.9 percent. Microsoft’s Windows Phone was also noted to have gained, contributing 3.2 percent of U.S sales compared with 2.6 percent three months earlier.

Going by these statistics, it is clearly evident that Android has gained a clear 4 percent lead over the iOS in the U.S market.

What’s more is the fact that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has lost considerably in less than three months. In the three month period directly preceding November, Apple’s iOS was noted to have a 51.2 percent market share in the U.S. This was a clear 6.4 percent lead over Android, which at the time contributed a lesser 44.8 percent of the aggregate U.S smartphone sales.

Putting these figures into perspective, it becomes hard to understand how Android bridged the gap and went ahead of the iOS. Kantar, however, argues that there was a key contributory factor behind this notable gain.

Sprint was very instrumental in the Android gain

Kantar’s research leads it to believe that Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) was the key contributory factor behind Android’s notable gain. According to statistics from the research firm, Android made up 71.9 percent of Sprint’s total sales, up from 49.3 percent previously.

A deeper probe further revealed that Sprint presented the perfect incentive needed to give Android the edge; cheaper prices. Before Sprint slashed prices for its Android handsets, it was noted that sales for Android handsets and iPhones were more or less the same. At the time, the price levels for the iOS and Android were similar; with the iOS coming in at $130 and Android coming in at $127. The tie breaker, however, set in after the iOS’s price level increased to $140 compared with the Android’s price level which reduced to $95.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) also contributed toward 60 percent of Sprint’s sales. The Samsung Galaxy S3, which runs on Android, was particularly popular among consumers. It represented 39 percent of all Sprint sales, up from a meager 14 percent in October. Kantar argues that this fanatical gain was similarly stirred by the price reduction of the smartphone, dropping from $199 to $99.

With Samsung expected to unveil the Samsung Galaxy S4 on March 14th, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s share of problems are likely to increase.