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Apple, RIM profit from Euro smartphone shift

But Sony Ericsson, HTC experience explosive growth

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Sony Ericsson's shift to Android proved spectacularly successful during the last three months of 2010, figures show.

According to market watcher IDC, the company's unit shipments into Western Europe during Q4 2010 rocketed 3121 per cent when compared to Q4 2009 - all thanks to the Xperia X10 and X10 Mini.

But temper that glee: taking into account all mobile phone types, and SE's unit shipments fell 15 per cent across those two quarters.

Only Apple and Research in Motion say phones shipments increase between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010, IDC's numbers show. Other top five players - Nokia and Samsung - saw sales slip: 11 per cent and two per cent, respectively.

Apple shipments were up 66 per cent, RIM up 67 per cent. That puts Apple's market share at nine per cent in Western Europe - third place behind Nokia (33 per cent) and Samsung (27 per cent). Sony Ericsson and RIM both took seven per cent of the market.

Focusing on smartphones, Apple came second during the quarter, taking 20 per cent of the market to Nokia's 27 per cent. A year ago, their shares were 24 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.

RIM took 15 per cent, HTC 13 per cent and Sony Ericsson - thanks to the aforementioned Xperias - took nine per cent of the market. Every company in the top five chart saw smartphone sales increase.

HTC's unit-shipments growth wasn't as spectacular as SE's but 284 per cent isn't to be sniffed at.

As a whole, smartphone shipments almost doubled between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010 to 25.6m units. Broad mobile phone shipments were up just three per cent.

The advantage for Apple and RIM: they don't sell ordinary mobile phones. The others do, and for all their success selling more smartphones, those gains failed to compensate for falling voice-centric handset sales. ®

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