Apple iPhone, BlackBerry sales pump up mobile phone market

The cellphone market had a strong fourth quarter in 2009, industry analysts say. And smart phones such as the Apple iPhone, the BlackBerry, and Google Android devices deserve much of the credit.

The mobile phone market surged in the fourth quarter of 2009, in part thanks to strong sales of the Apple iPhone, the Google Nexus One, and other smartphones.

The worldwide mobile phone market surged in the fourth quarter of 2009, driven in part by increased interest in smart phones such as the Apple iPhone and the Google Nexus One. According to a report released today by the analytics firm Gartner, smart phone sales in Q4 of 2009 were up 41 percent from the same time last year.

Q4 was a major bright spot, yet it couldn't make up for a dreary beginning to the year. Overall mobile phone sales were down by about 1 percent in 2009. The good news: Gartner estimated that Q4's momentum would likely carry into 2010. "The mobile devices market finished on a very positive note, driven by growth in smart phones and low-end devices," Gartner said in a statement.

Among the top handset vendors, Nokia still holds the most clout, although Samsung continues to expand its market shares. The story with operating systems in the smart phone vertical is a little different: First place went to Nokia's Symbian, which shipped on more than 80 million handsets last year. But second place went to BlackBerry, and third place to Apple's iPhone OS.

"Android's success experienced in the fourth quarter of 2009 should continue into 2010 as more manufacturers launch Android products," Roberta Cozza, a research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a new report from the International Telecommunication Union released a report released this week showing half the people in the developing world are cell phone subscribers. That's 4.6 billion people, in case you're counting, a major leap from the 1 billion counted by the ITU in 2002.

“The rate of progress remains remarkable,” ITU said in a statement.


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