Smart phone sales double in US-Gartner

Sales of 'smart' phones doubled in North America in the first quarter, outstripping the category's growth in the rest of the world, research firm Gartner, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

North American growth was propelled by the popularity of RIM's BlackBerry phones and Apple's iPhone, and bodes well for the rumored introduction of second-generation iPhone next week, the report said.

Apple sold 1.73 million iPhones in the first three months of the year, taking a 5.3% share of the worldwide smart-phone market, the Associated Press report added.

The iPhone was launched in the US last June, and overseas markets have been added gradually.

The phone is still not available in most European countries, or in Japan or China.

Smart-phone sales in North America were 7.3 million units, up 106% from the first quarter of last year. RIM, with a US market share of 42%, was the main beneficiary.

Worldwide smart-phone sales were 32.2 million, up 29% from a year ago, but half of that increase was due to the surge in North America.

The global market-share leader in the category was Nokia, with 46.7%. However, its market presence is minimal in the US, and its models that don't fit well into the US concept of a smart phone.