iPhone was the fastest-growing smartphone of 2008, despite end-of-year sales that failed to maintain the blistering pace set in July with the launch of the iPhone 3G, Gartner researchers reported Wednesday.
“Apple’s initial sell-through dropped significantly as sales fell during the fourth quarter,” Gartner said. “Nevertheless, Apple maintained its third position in the global rankings.”
still dominates the worldwide smartphone market with a 43.7% share, but overall it was not a good year for the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of mobile phones. Its smartphone sales were flat compared with 2007 and actually fell 16.8% year to year in the third quarter.
Research in Motion
, HTC and Samsung all grew their smartphone market share last year, but none as fast as Apple, whose sales increased 245%. See Gartner’s table 2 below:
New products offering “compelling device experiences and touch interfaces” drove smartphone sales in 2008, according to Gartner research director Roberta Cozza — especially in calendar Q4. With no new iPhone to show in the December quarter, Apple’s sales to end users fell 13.6%, to 4.08 million in Q4 from 4.72 million in Q3, as Gartner counts them. (Apple reported sales of 4.36 million iPhones and 6.89 million, respectively, in those quarters, but roughly 2 million iPhones built in Q3 ended up in inventory, according to Gartner, and therefore didn’t count as sales to end-users.) Still, Apple’s fourth quarter iPhone sales were up more than 111% year to year.
With two new BlackBerry models introduced in Q4, RIM’s sales were up both year to year (84.9%) and quarter to quarter (28.3%). Samsung had a particularly strong quarter with sales up 138% year to year, thanks in large part to its new touchscreen Omnia. See Gartner’s Q4 2008 table below.
Below the fold: Gartner’s tables for smartphone operating systems for the year 2008 and for Q4 2008.
Android operating platform is recorded in the Linux category, where it accounted for 20% of Linux smartphone sales in Q4, according to Gartner. Microsoft’s
Windows Mobile share includes smartphones sold by Samsung, HTC and others.