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World smartphone sales: Apple closes on RIM...

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Apple has narrowed the gap between the iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry, heating up the battle to be the world's second biggest seller of smartphones.

According to market watcher Strategy Analytics, Apple accounted for 16.4 per cent of world smartphone shipments in Q1 2010 - just 3.3 percentage points behind RIM.

Apple's Q1 tally is two points up on the 14.4 per cent share it scored for 2009 as a whole. RIM's share remained static, at 19.7 per cent. Year on year, it was effectively static too: falling a fraction of a percentage point from the 20.3 per cent share it achieved in Q1 2009.

Apple, on the other hand, saw its share jump from 10.6 per cent in the same timeframe, SA's numbers show.

Neither is yet able to challenge the mighty Nokia, which recorded a Q1 2010 share of 40 per cent, according to SA, up from 38.2 per cent in Q1 2009 and 38.8 per cent for 2009 as a whole.

The gains made by Apple and Nokia came at the expense of the 'others' category, which saw its share fall from 30.9 per cent in Q1 2009 to 23.8 per cent in Q1 2010.

Apple shifted 8.8m iPhones during the quarter. That now makes it the US' biggest phone manufacturer, Motorola having just announced that it sold 8.5m handsets - of all kinds - during the three-month period. As SA's numbers show, Apple is still behind RIM, but the BlackBerry maker is Canadian, don't forget.

During Q1, overall smartphone shipments hit 53.7m units worldwide, up almost 50 per cent on Q1 2009's total, 35.9m. ®

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