By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 13, 2009

Sales of Nokia’s (NOK) Symbian smartphones are drifting. Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is gaining on RIM’s (RIMM) BlackBerry. Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile is still sinking. And the launch of the Palm (PALM) Pre barely made a ripple in the gobal smartphone market.

Those were the headlines from the smartphone portion of Gartner’s 2009 Q2 mobile phone report, which saw smartphone sales grow 27% even as overall mobile phone sales, feeling recessionary pressure, fell 6%.

In this context, Apple was the clear winner. Its iPhone sales, as Gartner counts them, grew more than 500% year to year, and its market share, as we figure it, grew 375%. (See chart below the fold.)

“Apple’s expansion into a larger number of countries in the past year has produced a clear effect on sales volumes, as have the recent price adjustments on the 8GB 3G iPhone,” according to Gartner’s press release. “Apple brought its much-anticipated new device — the iPhone 3G S — to market at the end of the second quarter of 2009, but its full potential will only start to show in the sales figures in the second half of 2009.”

Gartner made note of the declining market shares of Symbian and Windows Mobile, but it expressed particular concern about the Palm Pre.

“This device attracted a lot of media attention but showed mixed results at the cash register as sales only reached 205,000 units,” said Gartner principal analyst Roberta Cozza. “Palm currently ranks tenth in the smartphone market and Gartner remains concerned about its ability to gain traction outside the US market, where its brand is less strong.”

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