Smartphone sales rise in Q1; RIM, Apple see biggest gains

Overall, mobile device sales were off by almost 10%, Gartner says

Mobile phone sales globally dropped 9.4 % in the first quarter compared to the same quarter of 2008, while smartphone sales jumped 12.7% during the same period, Gartner Inc. reported today.

The decline in the first quarter was the biggest drop since Gartner began doing quarterly reports in 2001, the research firm said in a statement. Even so, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said there have been some signs of recovery in North America and China.

Worldwide, according to Gartner, 269.1 million units of both smartphones and other phones were sold in the first quarter, a 9.4% decline from the 294.2 million sold in first quarter 2008.

A bright spot for the smartphone industry involves the introduction of more touchscreen products during the quarter, said Roberta Cozza, another Gartner analyst. That was particularly true for mid-tier smartphones, although a range of capabilities for more expensive smartphones mattered most in lifting the segment.

Smartphone sales totaled 13.5% of all mobile device sales in the quarter, compared to 11% of the total for the same quarter last year. That translates into 36.4 million smartphones sold in the first quarter, up from 32.3 million that were sold in first quarter of 2008, a 12.7% increase in the number of smartphones sold.

Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) and Apple Inc. each had the biggest improvements in sales, with RIM selling 7.2 million phones -- 2.9 million more than a year earlier -- and grabbing a nearly 20% market share. Apple, meanwhile, sold 3.9 million iPhones, compared to 1.7 million in the first quarter of 2008. It also more thandoubled its market share to 10.8%, up from 5.3% last year.

Nokia remained the smartphone sales leader, with nearly 15 million units sold, just slight above the nearly 14.6 million it sold for first quarter 2008. Nokia's smartphone share declined from 45% to 41% of the total market. After RIM and Apple, HTC and Fujitsu rounded out the top five sellers of smartphones in the quarter.

Compared to overall mobile device sales, smartphone sales by RIM and Apple do not even rank in Gartner's top five. For all mobile devices, Nokia was the leader, with 97.3 million sold, or 36% share; Samsung sold 51.3 million, for a 19% share. And LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson were third through fifth, respectively. Motorola, which sold 30 million devices in the first quarter of last year, saw the biggest decline, selling just 16.5 million in the first three months of this year.

Gartner said that Motorola hopes to reverse those losses with Android sales in the second half of 2009, but added a cautionary note: "Gartner analysts question how Motorola will be able to differentiate its offering when so many players in the mobile device market will be delivering Android-based products at the same time."

In general, Miliesis said the device vendors will be focused increasingly on smartphones. She predicted that mobile device sales will be down overall by 4% for all of 2009 compared to all of 2008.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags BlackberryAppleRIMsmartphonesiPhone

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?