Smartphone sales double at expense of feature phones

Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6 percent of the total mobile phones sold as sales peaked at 46.9 percent in the third quarter, according to IT research leader Gartner.

Samsung overtook Nokia as the leading smartphone dealer controlling 22.9 percent, with Nokia behind with 19.2 percent. Samsung sold 97.9 million units against the latter’s 82.3 million units in the third quarter.

Apple sold 23.6 million units representing 5.5 percent, a 36.2 percent increase on a year on year basis.

Sales per operating system saw Android control 72.4 percent of the total phones sold or 122 million units, an increase of 19.9 percent, while second placed Apple’s iOS held 23.6 million units, representing 13.9 percent, ahead of RIMs 5.1 percent and Symbian’s 2.6 percent.

Gartner attributes Samsung’s success to its segmentation of its various galaxy portfolio phones coming at different prices. Despite Nokia’s dip in sales, Gartner notes that the dive could have been worse if it wasn’t for the Asha phones that managed to keep numbers high.

Looking into the fourth quarter, Gartner expects increased demand as a number of launches come through. The arrival of Lumia devices on Windows 8 is expected to see Nokia recover in the smartphone segment that saw Nokia drop to number seven globally with only 7.2 million smartphones sold in the last quarter.

It is also expected that Apple’s latest device iPhone 5 will drive up numbers, with markets such as China anticipated to see increased devices.

In the operating systems front, RIM is expected to see the greatest comeback even as users await a new platform and new devices. RIM’s platform is expected to be officially released on January 30 with two new smart phone handsets the Blackberry 10 and the Blackberry Flow

RIM President and CEO Thorsten Heins has said that the new smartphones by the company will be unlike any in the market, with analysts saying that the releases and their success is almost a matter of life and death for RIM.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities. All of this will be integrated into a user experience — the BlackBerry Flow — that is unlike any smartphone on the market today,” Heins said in a statement released in early November.

It is expected that smartphones will continue to exert dominance in the market as more and more people move away from the traditional mobile phones. However, non-smartphones will continue to dominate in Africa given their price, durability and low power consumption as a huge chunk of the population still lacks electricity.

Posted in: Mobile

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