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Smartphone sales rose by half over the last three months, according to market analysts Gartner, with the segment now making up almost 20 per cent of phones sold.

Of the 326 million handsets that Gartner reckons were sold in the last three months, 19 per cent fall into the smartphone category, with Symbian's share of that category now down to 41 per cent and Android taking up the slack.

The total number of phones shipped around the world rose by 19 per cent, but that's expected given the usual lull in sales around the start of any year as a significant proportion of the world recovers from Christmas. Nokia's share of that total fell to 34.2 per cent, from almost 37 per cent, which bodes badly, though it's not just Nokia feeling the pain.

While Symbian's momentum keeps it in the lead, the competition is slowly catching up. After Symbian comes BlackBerry at just over 18 per cent, closely followed by Android at a smidgen above 17 per cent. Apple drags behind at 14.2 per cent, despite getting all the media attention.

Gartner reckons Apple will do alright - the iPhone 4 is still to arrive in some markets and is selling despite being dogged by technical issues. Gartner also paints a rosy future for Android, suggesting that it will overtake BlackBerry by the end of 2010. ®

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