IDC: Smartphone Sales Up 39 Pct at End of 2009

Nokia n97 mini

Market research firm IDC has released its worldwide sales figured for smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2009…and the results are a doozy, with smartphones moving 54.5 million units in the quarter, an increase of 39 percent from the same quarter of 2008—and four of the top five smartphone vendors set new shipment records for the quarter. For all of 2009, vendors shipped 174.2 million smartphones, up 15.1 percent from 2008.

“Increasingly, mobile phone users are seeking greater utility from their devices beyond telephony and messaging, and converged mobile devices fulfill that need,” said IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas, in a statement. “Carriers took advantage of lower prices on many older devices, ordering additional units and, in turn, offering reduced prices to end users. It was the perfect set of conditions to push shipments to a record level.”

According to IDC, the top five smartphone vendors for the fourth quarter of 2009 were (in order) Nokia, RIM, Apple, Motorola, and HTC. Although Nokia isn’t a huge force in the North American smartphone market, the company still has a huge international footprint, and touchscreen devices like the 5800, N97, N97 mini, and 5530 models helped the company maintain its position at the top of the mobile handset pack—Nokia has a 38.2 global market share for smartphones, almost double that of its nearest competitor. RIM also had a great quarter shipping more than 10 million units for the first time, and Apple shipped almost twice as many iPhones in teh fourth quarter of 2009 as it did at the end of 2008. Motorola’s launch of Android-powered devices managed to put the company back in the top-five smartphone manufacturers after a year’s absence.

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