Consumers living in Europe are seeking out mobile phones with advanced operating systems (OS) and touchscreens when they come to purchase their next handset.

The trend has seen sales of devices with advanced OS (often dubbed "smartphones") almost double within the last 13 months in Europe, up from 13.8 percent to 26.9 percent.

Sales of Android-powered devices have seen a significant increase in popularity over the past few months too.

In September 2010, one in five smartphones ran Google's Android operating system, a sharp rise from the one Android handset in every twenty sold in March, 2010.

"The smartphone phenomenon is fuelling the growth we see in global mobile phone sales, in some countries half of the phones sold in October were smartphones," commented GfK's Global Telco Marketing Director, Aaron Rattue in a report on advanced Operating Systems released on December 15.

"Together with the expected boom in media tablets, this will mean the battlegrounds of the mobile web and operating system will be even more competitive in 2011."

The report also showed that European consumers are much more likely to purchase a mobile phone with a touchscreen than their Asian, African and Middle Eastern counterparts.

More than a third of handsets sold in Europe in September 2010 had a touchscreen (up 21 percent from the same time the year before).

According to GfK, one in five handsets sold in Asia have a touchscreen. In Africa and the Middle East, one in ten devices sold are equipped with a touchscreen.