According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 43.3 million units in 3Q 09, up 4.2% from the 41.5 million units shipped in 3Q 08, and a 3.2% increase over the 41.9 million units shipped in 2Q 09.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion posted the greatest year-over-year growth (35.7%), shipping 8.2 million units in 3Q 09 to attain a 19.1% worldwide market share. Although most of its volumes remained within its home region of North America, the company also posted significant improvement internationally, with some regions recording triple digit growth year over year.
Research In Motion launched two new devices during the quarter; the BlackBerry Tour for CDMA networks and the BlackBerry Curve 8520 for GSM networks.
Apple reached its highest volume yet in a single quarter, shipping 7.4 million units to attain a 17.1% market share. The nearly global availability of the iPhone 3G S sparked another round of annual replacements for Apple loyalists, while the lower price on the iPhone 3G put the device well within reach of price-conscious customers.
Nokia continues to dominate worldwide smartphone shipments, moving 16.4 million units in the quarter for a 37.9% market share. Driving shipments forward were its popular flagship device, the N97, and an improving enterprise-focused portfolio led by the E71. Nokia also announced its first Maemo-powered device, the N900, targeting high-end users.
According to IDC, while Nokia's worldwide leadership position is clear, the handset maker still struggles in North America.
Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2009
(Units in Millions)
|| 3Q 09 Shipments
||3Q 09 Market Share
|| 3Q 08 Shipments
||3Q 08 Market Share
||Year Over Year Growth
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, November 5, 2009
Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
IDC, which refers to smartphones as "converged mobile devices," reports that demand for the devices has remained strong all year. "As users expect greater functionality from their devices beyond telephony, we believe the converged mobile device market to grow faster than the overall mobile phone market," says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, in a prepared statement.
"With the release of Android-based handsets from several different OEMs, most recently Motorola, but also HTC, Samsung LG, and Sony Ericsson, the buzz surrounding Android OS is reaching critical mass," adds William Stofega, research manager with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "HTC was first to come to market with an Android device, other vendors took longer to develop their Android portfolio. However, the release of new Android devices has picked up dramatically over the past several months and the release of version 2.0 demonstrates that Android is rapidly evolving and responsive to suggestions from OEMs and developers. With an expanding portfolio of handsets and a just released update of the code, Android is poised to mount a serious challenge to the incumbent smartphone OEMs for the first time in its brief history."
IDC defines "converged mobile devices" as either voice or data centric and capable of synchronizing personal information and/or email with server, desktop, or laptop computers. These devices must match wireless telephony capability to high level operating systems, include the ability to download data to local storage, run applications, and store user data beyond PIM capabilities. Converged mobile devices must offer the full extent of their application processing capability to the user, regardless of network