HTC pushes iPhone 4 out of Britain's favourite five -

It's rotten news for Apple, which has fallen from the nation's top five favourite mobile handsets.

According to USwitch's mobile tracker, the iPhone 4 now comes in at sixth place as the abundance of smartphones on free contracts push it out in the cold.

According to Ernest Doku at uSwitch.com, the iPhone is no longer the apple of our eyes because other handsets are quickly catching up in terms of features.

"People are no longer prepared to pay high prices for this as other handsets are just as good and priced more reasonably," he told TechEye.

Doku believes the iPhone is no longer the status symbol it once was. "People are looking for something more unique. They want a handset with different features and one that stands out," he added.

HTC took the nation's hearts with its Desire handset, being the one we most, er, desire. USwitch thinks this is because of a top range of apps offered, as well as features including the ability to silence a call by simply turning the phone over.

HTC has to be doing something very right, as its Desire HD comes in at second place and the Wildfire takes the third spot.

Android phones fared well in the tracker charts, with uSwitch claiming that half of the phones in the top 10 now run off Google's operating system.

Affordable handsets are a winner, with RIM's Blackberry Curve moving up to fourth position thanks to enticing pre-pay deals. Meanwhile, with free handset deals starting from £20 a month Samsung’s Galaxy S move into fifth place.

In seventh position was the Motorola DEFY, while Sony Ericsson's S500i took the eighth spot. Samsung's G800 came in ninth and its i600 lands number 10.

Doku continued: “The competition is taking a huge bite out of Apple’s market. And, with over 800,000 deals currently giving away a smartphone for free, it’s easy to see how consumers are being lured away from the iPhone.

"Many have to account for every penny spent, but at the same time do not want to miss out on owning the latest gadget. A free handset is a much more attractive proposition than shelling out for one – especially at iPhone prices.

 "HTC has outsmarted the smartphone market by customising its handsets at a range of price points – as seen by the Wildfire acting as an aspirational Desire. It’s clever marketing. Plus Google’s Android operating platform really cuts the mustard in terms of the thousands of applications available, especially on the gaming side.

 “Android phones have well and truly pipped Apple to the post. But, with just a couple of months until Apple is expected to give details of its next offering, it’s almost a dead cert that they will soon lead the way again in the race for smartphone dominance."