Report: Mobile Phone Sales Grew 17% During Q1, Smartphones Sales Grow Nearly 50%

Mobile phone sales continue to rise at substantial rates, according to new research by Gartner, with Smartphone sales exploding during the first quarter of 2010.

Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 314.7 million units during Q1 2010, representing a 17% increase from the same period in 2009, while smarpthone sales reached 54.3 million units, representing an increase of 48.7 % from the first quarter of 2009.  Not surprisingly, among the most successful vendors were those that controlled an integrated set of operating system (OS), hardware and services- or in other words Apple’s iPhone OS and the Android platform.

Gartner attributes much of the growth in the mobile devices market to double-digit growth of smartphone sales in mature markets, helped by wider product availability as well as mass market price tags.  “Increasing sales of white-box products in some emerging regions, in particular India, also drove sales of mobile phones upward,” explained Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.  “We expect sales of white-box products to remain very healthy for the remainder of 2010, especially outside of China.”

In the smartphone OS market, Android and Apple were the winners in the first quarter of 2010, with Android moving to the No. 4 position displacing Microsoft Windows Mobile for the first time.  Both Android and Apple were the only two OS vendors among the top five to increase market share year-on-year, and while Symbian remained in the No. 1 position, it continued to lose as Nokia remains weak in the high-end portfolio.

“In the first quarter of 2010, smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006,” continued Milanesi.  “This quarter saw RIM, a pure smartphone player, make its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and saw Apple increase its market share by 1.2 percentage points.  Android’s momentum continued into the first quarter of 2010, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707 per cent year-on-year.”