Gartner reports that while mobile phone sales are down in the second quarter of 2009, smartphone sales are up, and the iPhone is way up.
While worldwide sales of mobile phones declined six percent to 286 million units for the second quarter, 40 million smartphones were sold, up 27 percent. While Apple (s aapl) did not break into the top five manufacturers of mobile phones, the iPhone is seeing explosive growth, 5.2 million units sold, a 500 percent increase.
Even better, Gartner believes the impact of the iPhone 3GS will reach its full potential in the second half of this year. That may boost Apple from its current ranking of third in the smartphone market behind Nokia and RIM (s rimm), but ahead of HTC.
As for mobile operating systems, Symbian now represents just over half the market, but will very likely drop below 50 percent this year. RIM controls just under 19 percent, Apple around 13 percent, HTC is six percent, and Android is at two percent. Palm’s webOS has yet to have a discernible impact. What about beleaguered Microsoft (s msft)? Windows Mobile is at nine percent and falling, requiring Microsoft’s hardware partners to take matter into their own hands.
“Microsoft licensees HTC and Samsung continued to add features to their own interfaces, on top of Windows Mobile, to create more competitive products and make up for the usability constraints of the Microsoft platform,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.
Nothing says your user interface sucks like a hardware vendor rolling their own UI over yours. The imminent release of Windows Mobile 6.5 will likely do little to help Microsoft in the short term, while Windows Mobile 7 is scheduled for sometime in 2010. Meanwhile, the iPhone is about to enter China. Does Steve Ballmer’s comment about the iPhone from April 2007 come to mind for anyone else? “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” His mistake was in thinking chance had anything to do with it.