Research firm Gartner says 81 million smartphones were sold globally in the third quarter of 2010, which translates to a massive 96% growth compared to the same period in 2009. Further growth is expected for the rest of 2010.
"This is the third consecutive double-digit increase in sales year-on-year, indicating that consumer demand is healthy,” said Carolina Milanesi, Research VP for Gartner. "This quarter saw Apple and Android drive record smartphone sales. Apple’s share of the smartphone market surpassed Research In Motion in North America, to put it second behind Android, while Android volumes also grew rapidly, making it the No. 2 operating system worldwide.”
Although the top three worldwide mobile device manufacturers Nokia, Samsung and LG remained the same – albeit with reduced market share – the third quarter saw Apple rise into the top five manufacturers, surpassing RIM for fourth place.
Apple delivered a strong performance in Q3, selling 13.5 million handsets, though it could have sold more if ongoing supply constraints were fixed. RIM sold 11.9 million devices but its global share of the smartphone market fell to 14.8%. Nokia sold 110.4 million units and Samsung sales reached 71.7 million. Android accounted for 25.5% of worldwide smartphone sales in the quarter, making it the No. 2 operating system.
Gazing into its crystal ball for the rest of the year, Gartner predicts that overall devices sales for 2010 will show a 30% year-on-year growth. A rising of the tablet platform is also expected to gather pace in the coming 12 months.