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Touchscreens take lead in smartphone biz

Bumper year for finger-friendly phones

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The world's smartphone makers shipped more touchscreen models in Q4 2009 than at any time in the past - and more touchphones than devices with buttons.

During the quarter, 55 per cent of all smartphones shipped had touchscreens. That's just under 30m touchscreen handsets altogether, market watcher Canalys said today.

Touchscreen shipments were up 138 per cent year on year, compared to overall smartphone shipment growth of 41 per cent.

Q4 accounted for almost 40 per cent of the touchscreen smartphones shipped during 2009, a year that notched up total shipments of 75.9m, the researcher said. Some 166.27m smartphones shipped in 2009.

Canalys spoke to 4,000 consumers late in 2009 and found that 60 per cent of them wanted a touchscreen interface on their next phone. While some existing touchphone users said they will switch back to a different interface, Canalys said it expects the overall shift toward touchscreens to continue during 2010.

It said it expects 166m touchscreen smartphones to ship this year.

It comes as no surprise that Apple topped the chart of touchphone vendors, shipping 25.10m smartphones in 2009, just ahead of Nokia's 22.36m. HTC managed 7.73m and Samsung 4.84m. Everyone else, together, racked up shipments totalling 15.82m units.

From a marketshare perspective, they divide up this way: Apple 33.1 per cent, Nokia 29.5 per cent, HTC 10.2 per cent, Samsung 6.4 per cent and everyone else 20.9 per cent.

Not a good result for RIM, but then its touchscreen BlackBerrys aren't as widely seen as the Qwerty models. But a look at the OS figures shows its position to be strong, for now. Symbian was in 47.2 per cent of the smartphones shipped in 2009, followed by BlackBerry (20.8 per cent), iPhone (15.1 per cent), Windows Mobile (8.8 per cent), Android (4.7 per cent) and others (3.4 per cent).

Symbian and Windows Mobile were down year on year, while BlackBerry, iPhone and Android all increased their share of the smartphone OS market. ®

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