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Phones down, smartphones up in Q2

Demand for internet handsets soaring

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Global mobile phone sales dropped slightly during the second quarter this year, figures released by analyst Gartner have revealed. But even though recession-hit consumers are tightening their belts, sales of pricey smartphones are rising.

Just over 286m mobile phones were sold globally during Q2, Gartner discovered. But the figure was down 6.1 per cent on the same period last year, when 304.7m handsets were sold.

Nokia, Samsung and LG took the lucrative top three spots, with sales of 105.4m – down from 120.3m, in Q2 2008 - 55.4m and 30.4m, respectively. But turn your attention to the smartphone market and you the picture is very different.

Smartphones – essentially defined by Garnter as those with an operating system supporting third-party apps - accounted for 40.9m of the Q2's global phone sales total, up from 32.2m in the year-ago quarter.

Nokia led the smartphone pack once more with sales up from 15.2m to 18.4m between Q2 2008 and Q2 2009. However, the firm’s market share slipped from 47.4 per cent to 45 per cent.

The market watcher pointed out that Nokia’s flagship N97 – reviewed here – was “met with little enthusiasm at its launch” and went on to sell just 500,000 units during the quarter.

Apple, by comparison, sold 1m iPhone 3GS units during the smartphone’s first weekend. The company shifted 5.4m iPhones during the quarter, up from 892,500 during Q2 2008.

Other movers and shakers in the global market included Motorola, which saw total handset sales crash from 30.3m to 15.9m. The firm’s ten per cent Q2 2008 market share also halved in Q2 2009.

Sony Ericsson saw a steady increase is handset sales during the quarters, but the firm’s market share dropped from 7.5 per cent to 4.7 per cent. Gartner attributed this to an “uncompetitive range of handsets”.

Despite being a well-known name in the smartphone market, HTC only saw sales increase from 1.3m in Q2 2008 to 2.4m during Q2 2009.

When it comes to smartphone operating systems, Gartner discovered that Symbian’s market share dropped from 57 per cent to 51 per cent between the quarters.

Android only snared a two per cent market share, but the analyst stressed that as more smartphones running the Google-developed platform come to market during Q3 and Q4, Android’s impact will heighten. ®

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