For Q3 2009, Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone accounted for 17.1 percent of worldwide smartphone marketshare, a new high for the company. That’s the good news from Gartner, and there’s more where that came from.
While overall mobile phone sales were flat for the quarter, smartphone sales were up 12.8 percent, some 41 million units. Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner, notes that smartphones “represent the fastest-growing segment of the mobile-devices market and we remain confident about the potential for smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2009 and in 2010.” How convenient for Apple.
3.4, 12.9, and 17.1 percent…that’s Apple’s market share for each third quarter from 2007 through 2009, the growth rate easily besting even RIM’s (s rimm) doubling of its own market share over the same period of time. For the current quarter, Apple also outpaced RIM, the two companies growing by 49.2 and 46.9 percent, respectively. While that surge could be attributed to the launch of the iPhone 3GS, it should be noted that the iPhone 3GS was supply constrained during the quarter. Further, Gartner believes the fourth quarter “should be even stronger as Apple starts selling in China, through one additional carrier in the UK, and in an additional 16 countries.”
While Nokia did manage growth, it picked up only 4.4 percent in units sold, putting the company at 39.3 percent market share, down from 42.3 percent for the same period last year. The big losers for the quarter appears to have been manufacturers saddled with Windows Mobile 6.
According to Gartner, Windows Mobile 6.5 came “too late to have an impact on the third quarter, so sales of Windows-based smartphones saw another decline.” Apparently, HTC must be gaining strength based upon Android. Google’s (s goog) mobile OS “picked up momentum but with only a handful of Android devices available, its share remained modest at 3.5 per cent” of the mobile operating systems.
No doubt phones like Verizon’s (s vz) Droid will help to increase Android’s share of the market, but arguably not at Apple’s expense. The problem with Android is that each carrier is free to create its own mind-numbing implementation, resulting in a lack of consistency for the users of different phones. A case in point is the Droid, which currently lacks multi-touch, even though Android 2.0 supports it. For the most consistent and elegant mobile experience, the only choice remains the iPhone.