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BlackBerry, HTC eat into Nokia Q2 market share

Touchscreens driving demand, says analyst

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Global smartphone sales were steady during the second quarter of 2008, according to Gartner. But only a wider availability of new touchscreen smartphones will spur stronger sales in Q3, the analyst warned.

Gartner found that worldwide smartphone sales totalled 32.2m units during Q2, the exact same number sold in the previous quarter. Nonetheless, the Q2 figure still represents a 15.7 per cent smartphone sales increase compared to the same period in 2007.

Smartphone sales into North America grew by 78.7 per cent year over year, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa together also saw 21 per cent year-on-year growth.

Unsurprisingly, Nokia took the top spot, with sales of just over 15m smartphones and a market share of 47.5 per cent. But the Finnish handset giant’s share dropped from 50.8 per cent in the same period last year, despite a slight increase in its smartphone sales.

BlackBerry maker RIM and Touch Diamond manufacturer HTC took the second and third slots, respectively. RIM settled for a 17.4 per cent market share in Q2, up from 8.9 per cent in Q2 2007. But HTC saw a comparatively tiny growth in its market share, up from 2.2 per cent in Q2 2007 to just 4.1 per cent in Q2 2008.

Apple sits anonymously in the 'Others' category, but Gartner noted that the iPhone maker’s share actually decreased from 5.3 per cent in Q1 to just 2.8 per cent this time around.

That said, Gartner still recorder shipments of Mac OS X-based smartphones of 270,000 units in Q2 2007. A year on, the figure was 892,503 units, an increase of more than 230 per cent.

Gartner attributed the Q1-Q2 sequential drop to “the company having to clean the channel of first-generation iPhone units before the arrival of the iPhone 3G”. The analyst expects Apple to leap up the sales scale in the second half of this year.

The Palm OS' share of the world smartphone OS market rose from 1.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent between Q2 2007 and Q2 2008, but its second-quarter shipments of 743,910 were exceeded by Apple.

Symbian remained the world's favourite smartphone OS, with a 57.1 per cent share. RIM was next with 17.4 per cent and Windows Mobile close behind on 12 per cent. Linux took 7.3 per cent - some 2,359,245 units worldwide.

The analyst’s relatively positive analysis of smartphone sales during Q2 shows that, despite the ongoing credit crunch, consumers have taken a liking to well connected and feature-rich phones.

In contrast, the firm recently reported that although global mobile phone sales are predicted to exceed 1.2bn handsets this year, tough economic conditions have already bitten into sales of more basic phones.

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