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iPhone Beats BlackBerry, But Nokia Tops In Smartphone Sales

October 29, 2010

For the first time, Apple’s iPhone has beaten Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry in terms of worldwide smartphone sales, according to two separate reports published Friday.

The reports–one from the Mobile Devices Technology and Trends division of IT tracking firm International Data Corporation (IDC), and the other from analysts at Strategy Analytics–report that Apple sold 14.1 million iPhone units during the third quarter, while RIM shipped 12.4 million Blackberry handsets.

The two companies are in fourth and fifth place, respectively, in terms of worldwide smartphone sales, according to IDC statistics quoted in an October 29 article by AFP. Nokia is the global industry leader, selling 110.4 million units in the third quarter. Following them is Samsung, with 71.4 million, and LG Electronics is a distant third, with 28.4 million devices sold.

According to Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor for the UK newspaper The Telegraph, Strategy Analytics reports that iPhone sales were up 91 percent over the same quarter last year, while BlackBerry device sales jumped a slightly more modest 46 percent. A total of 327 million smartphones were shipped worldwide during the quarter, Beaumont noted in her Friday report.

“The entrance of Apple to the top five vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market,” Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC, told AFP. “Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms…. Vendors that aren’t developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the future.”

Despite holding onto the overall industry lead, Nokia’s growth was not as robust as its competition, according to Beaumont. The Finnish technology company’s total sales increased just 2 percent over the third quarter 2009, and the company has seen several top executives, including former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, step down from their positions over the past few months.

“Much of Nokia’s growth during the next quarter will depend on the success of its four high-profile new models, the Nokia N8, C7, C6-01 and E7,” Strategy Analytics said in its report, according to the Telegraph article. “The first three handsets will be attacking Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung, while the E7 will set its sights on RIM, HTC and others.”

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