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Android and iPhone leave BlackBerry in their wake

11 November 2010  |  9250 views  |  1 Iphone screen close up

Worldwide smartphone sales soared 96% in the last year, with the iPhone and Google Android-based handsets both leapfrogging BlackBerry in the popularity stakes, according to Gartner.

Around 417 million mobile phones were sold in the third quarter, up 35% on Q3 2009, with smartphone sales up a massive 96%. Smartphones now account for 19.3% of all mobile sales.

Apple's iPhone has leapfrogged RIM's Blackberry to claim fourth spot in mobile sales, selling 13.5 million handsets - 3.2% of the worldwide total - although it still lags far behind market leader Nokia, which has a 28.2% share.

Meanwhile, Google's Android is now the second most popular smartphone operating system behind Nokia's Symbian, streaking ahead of Apple's iOS and RIM. In the third quarter Android accounted for 25.5% of smartphone sales, up from just 3.5% in the same period the previous year.

This rapid growth means that although RIM has seen the number of handsets sold grow steadily - up from 8.5 million in Q3 2009 to 11.9 million - its market share has fallen from 20.7% to just 14.8%. Even the iPhone's market share has dipped slightly to 16.7% despite sales growing from seven million in Q3 2009 to 13.5 million.

Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst, Gartner, says: "Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types. Any platform that fails to innovate quickly - either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity - will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users."

The shake-up of the corporate smartphone market was demonstrated earlier this month when it emerged that Bank of America and Citi are the latest financial services giants to consider letting their staff use iPhones and Google Android-based handsets as an alternative to BlackBerrys for corporate e-mail, following in the footsteps of JP Morgan Chase and Standard Chartered.

The rapid adoption of smartphone could also see a surge in mobile banking uptake. Recent research from Forrester found that European BlackBerry and iPhone users are nearly three times more likely to use mobile banking services than the owners of other handsets.

Comments: (1)

Daniel Goodman
Daniel Goodman - Business Systems International - London | 12 November, 2010, 10:37

Market share figures are to some degree irrelevant and misleading. The smartphone market is massive and growing. The headlines from Gartner encourage speculators to short RIM stock. However, when you look at the underlying figures, RIM increased the number of handsets sold by 40%. A truly remarkable figure by any measure. Apple are doing well as well ? Good for them. As for Android, yes lots of handsets are being sold with the new OS, but the spoils are shared by a large number of manufacturers. RIM appears to be a hugely undervalued business with a true niche and little competition in the area of secure corporate email over a dedicated global server infrastructure. 

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