Smartphone market grows 42.6%

smartphoneAn astonishing 118.1m mobile phones were shipped across the world by vendors in the third quarter of this year. That's a 42.6% rise on the same period last year. Even more eye-catching is the fact that this rate of growth was lower than the 49.1% analysts IDC had predicted, and lower still than this year's second quarter growth of 66.7%. That lower level of growth is attributed to the delayed launch of Apple's new iPhone.
The figures, revealed in IDC's latest report of the global mobile phone market, underline just how popular smartphones are becoming. There is some evidence that in more mature markets such as Western Europe and the United States the rate of growth is slowing. But that could be down to that iPhone delay as much as anything.

For the the hype around Apple's product though, the company is not in top position. That honour goes to Samsung, which took the top spot thanks to shipping over 20 million units during a quarter for the first time in its history. The firm's Android-powered smartphones pushed volumes up, with the Galaxy S II proving very popular.

ICD analyst Ramon Llamas put Samsung's performance down to "its broad and deep product portfolio" and the fact that it has "aggressively expanded and refreshed its selection to include the latest innovations and most popular features." The firm's launch of a range of bada-branded phones is also cited.

Samsung rises

Samsung's rise pushed Apple down to number two, but the Cupertino-based company still racked up double-digit growth year-on-year. That's pretty good when you consider the iPhone 3GS has now been available for nine quarters and the iPhone 4 for five. The battle between Apple and Samsung will dominate the next quarter.

Nokia maintained its spot in third place, thanks largely to the strength of its Symbian phones. It too is trading well through older models such as the 5230, C5 and C7, but the launch of four new models with its new Symbian Belle operating system and the slick new N9 kept the firm's offer fresh.

HTC continued its upward trajectory, building on its spot in fourth place. The firm has been on a buying spree, picking up companies which provide services to compliment its devices. These include cloud-based sync service Dashwire and street cool audio company Beats. HTC is also launching devices for specific segments, such as the Rhyme – aimed at women – and the entry level Explorer.

Perhaps surprisingly after its well-publicised travails, Blackberry-maker Research in Motion maintains its position in the top five. But with volumes made up mainly of older and less expensive models, the company posted its first quarter of year-on-year decline.
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