Soaring smartphone sales bode well for iPhone

iPhone Nano 3G second-generation

Out with the handset, in with the BlackBerry. Information technology research firm Gartner says smartphone sales grew 29.3% from the first quarter of 2007 to the same time this year, totalling more than 32 million units sold.

Smartphones are replacing older models due to their touch-screen capabilities, business applications and faster web access, Gartner analysts say.

Nokia dominates the market, accounting for 45% of global smartphone sales, and experienced a growth of 25%. It remains the leading provider of smartphones in the Asia Pacific region, according to Gartner, “due to the variety of its smartphone portfolio”.

Research in Motion came in second at 13% in Asia Pacific, with its BlackBerry taking up most of the business-oriented market. But the BlackBerry dominates the United States with a 44% share.

Apple only took 5.3% of the total market with last year’s iPhone. But analysts says it’s an impressive number, considering the device was only released in July. A drop in Nokia sales in July indicates the iPhone stole at least some customers from existing markets.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs hopes to gain some market ground with the new 3G iPhone release next month, which includes features such as the ability to “push” email, in an effort to attract BlackBerry users.

Despite the small share, Apple managed to beat Sharp and Fujitsu, which both only hold 4.1% of the international market.


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