Apple, Android, RIM gain market share

Nokia, Microsoft and Linux continue to lose ground in the shift to smarter phones

A report from Gartner issued Tuesday confirmed the trends reported three weeks earlier by IDC. Both tracking firms are registering a massive shift as users around the world trade in devices designed to make phone calls and send text messages for what are essentially pocket-sized computers.

Gartner recorded a 0.9% drop in cellphone sales for 2009 and a corrresponding 23% growth in smartphone sales. IDC calls them by a different name -- "converged mobile devices" -- but registered a similar pattern, showing smartphone sales up 15.1% for the year.

The spoils, however, were not evenly distributed among the players. In particular:

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  • Nokia's (nok), whose Symbian operating system once dominated the market, saw its share erode once again (Gartner: down 5.5 points to 46.9%; IDC: down 1.1 points to 38.9% )
  • Apple's (aapl) iPhone share contiues to grow sharply (Gartner: up 6.2 points to 14.4%; IDC: 5.3 points to 14.4%)
  • Research in Motion's (rimm) Blackberry also gained ground, but more slowly (Gartner: 3.3 points to 19.9%; IDC: 4.2 points to 19.8%)
  • Phones running Google's (goog) Android OS registered a nearly eight-fold gain in market share, albeit from a smaller base (up 3.4 points to 3.9%, according to Gartner)
  • Microsoft (msft) and Linux both lost roughly 3 points to end up with 8.7% and 4.7% shares, respectively, according to Gartner. Microsoft is hoping to turn that around with its new Windows 7 Mobile Series OS, introduced in Barcelona last week.

Below: Gartner's and IDC's 2009 smartphone spreadsheets.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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