Smartphone sales rocket as Apple bites

 
Steve Dinneen
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GLOBAL smartphone sales grew an astonishing 72 per cent, with next-generation handsets now making up almost a fifth of receipts, according to new research by Gartner.

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple crept ahead of industry stalwarts Sony Ericsson and Motorola in total phone sales, with both claiming close to three per cent of the total market.

Nokia remained top of the handset ladder, with 461m sales worldwide, giving it a market share of 28.9 per cent. However, the Finnish firm also suffered the biggest loss in market share, dropping 7.5 per cent from 36.4 per cent the year before.

Samsung was second in the table, with 281m sales, or 17.6 per cent of the global market. LG came in third. Total handset sales for the year were up 31.8 per cent to 1.6bn.

Apple sales increased 87.2 per cent thanks to expansion into new countries and the ending of exclusivity deals, which opened it up to new customers. RIM also saw its sales rocket, selling 38.2 per cent more handsets than in the previous year.

Gartner says smartphone sales are concentrated in advanced markets such as the US and UK, where network infrastructure is developed enough to handle the increased data usage.

In the smartphone operating system market Android grew a staggering 888 per cent in 2010, moving to the number two slot, behind Nokia’s Symbian. The Finnish firm’s embattled OS fell 32.6 per cent year-on-year, allowing Android to creep ahead in the fourth quarter.

FAST FACTS | PHONE SALES

Next generation handsets now make up 19 per cent of global mobile sales.

Nokia is both the biggest industry player, with 461m sales globally, and the biggest loser of market share, falling 7.5 per cent in a year.