Smartphone sales increase 13.9% in 2008

Worldwide sales of smartphones totaled 38.1 million units in the fourth quarter--a year-over-year increase of 3.7 percent--and accounted for 12 percent of all mobile phones sold in the period, according to market research firm Gartner. Global smartphone sales for the year topped 139.3 million devices, up 13.9 percent over 2007--Samsung entered the top five vendors ranking for the first time, replacing Sharp, and while Research In Motion recorded an increase in sales both sequentially and year-over-year, Nokia's volumes continued to drop. Still, Nokia sold more than 15.5 million smartphones in Q4, compared to RIM at 7.4 million and Apple at 4.1 million--Nokia now controls 40.8 percent of combined smartphone market share, with RIM at 19.5 percent and Apple at 10.7 percent.

Symbian's share of the global smartphone operating system market dipped to 47.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, down from 62.3 percent in Q4 2007. Gartner attributes the slide to pressure from new mobile platforms, the weakness of the Japanese mobile device market and Nokia's sales decline. At the same time, RIM's BlackBerry OS grew its year-on-year share of the global smartphone market to 19.5 percent from 10.9 percent, followed by Microsoft's Windows Mobile (12.4 percent market share, up from 11.7 percent a year ago) and Apple's Mac OS X (10.7 percent market share, up from 5.2 percent a year earlier). Sales of Linux-based smartphones jumped 19 percent year-over-year--Gartner estimates Android smartphones accounted for 20 percent of total Linux sales in the fourth quarter of 2008.

For more on the Q4 smartphone sales:
- read this release

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