Smartphone sales jump 27% in second quarter from last year

Smartphone sales jump 27% in second quarter from last year
Despite overall weakness in worldwide cellphone sales, one segment of the market is extremely strong. Demand for smartphones remains strong and recently launched models like the iPhone 3GS, the Palm Pre and the Nokia N97 are helping to stoke the fire. With their full HTML browsers, advanced OS and multimedia capabilities, carrying a smartphone in your pocket is like having a mini computer with you at all times.

The first quarter of 2009 was a dreadful one for the cellphone business as a whole. Sales dropped a record 9.4% to be followed by the 6.1% drop in the just completed period according to the researchers at the Gartner group. Analyst Carolina Milanesi gave most of the credit for the surge in smartphone sales to the Apple iPhone 3GS. Milanesi pointed out that despite the slump in handset sales, certain models fared well as consumers who normally purchased mid-range models either cut back toward the low end or paid the extra money to get a device with more features. "Touch-screen and QWERTY devices remained a major driver for replacement sales and benefited manufacturers with strong, touch-focused mid-tier devices," said the Gartner researcher. Thanks to the price cut for the 8GB iPhone 3G, sales of that model rose 51% in the period to 5.4 million units which helped Apple maintain their thrid place standing in handset market share. First place continued to belong to Nokia with 18.4 million devices sold in the three months, good enough to own 45% of the marketplace. Trailing the Finnish manufacturer with 18.7% of the market was Canadian company Research In Motion. RIM sold 7.6 million BlackBerry branded phones in the second quarter. Apple's third place market share was 13.3%

Sales of the new smartphones launched in the second quarter were led by the 1 million units of the iPhone 3GS that were sold. Nokia sold 500,000 of its N97 device while the Palm Pre rang up sales of 205,000 phones for the three months. All three phones were launched in June, so they did not have the benefit of being offered for the entire April-June period.

As for operating systems, Symbian held a leading 51% of the market during the second quarter, not surprising in light of Nokia's leading share in handsets. The 51% was down from 57% held a year ago and RIM and Apple picked up the ground lost by Symbian. Windows Mobile held a slipping 9% of the OS market while Android came in with less than 2%

source: Gartner via eweek.com

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