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Samsung Tops Mobile Market In First Quarter, Gartner Says

Samsung Tops Mobile Market In First Quarter, Gartner Says
May 16, 2012 2:51PM

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Google's Android OS saw substantial growth year over year, from 36.4 percent to 56.1 percent, while Apple's iOS also grew from 16.9 percent to 22.9 percent, according to Gartner. Nokia's fading Symbian platform dropped significantly as the company switches to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, dropping from 27.7 percent to just 8.6 percent.

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Samsung is king of mobile phones, while Apple owns a not-too shabby 7.9 percent of the global phone market. And Android remains the top operating system, with more than half the market.

Those are some of the findings of a report on the global mobile market in the first quarter of the year by Gartner.

Nokia Is Slipping

South Korea-based Samsung's sales to end users amounted to 20.7 percent of the worldwide total in the quarter, up from 16.1 percent in the same quarter last year, Gartner said. That growth comes at the expense of Nokia, the Finnish company that saw its share shrink from 25.1 percent to 19.8 percent.

California-based Apple received its accustomed dose of good news with a share that doubled from 3.9 percent to 7.8 quarter over quarter. Considering that Apple makes only a single smartphone (in varying generations and storage capacity), the news is impressive.

Research In Motion dropped from 3.0 percent to 2.4 percent. The Canadian BlackBerry maker lags behind China's ZTE, South Korea's LG and China's Huawei to take up seventh place.

Gartner's report follows one by Strategy Analytics based on vendor surveys that put Samsung at the top of the market with a 31 percent share, toppling Nokia's 14-year reign at the top spot.

Google's Android OS saw substantial growth year over year, from 36.4 percent to 56.1 percent, while Apple's iOS also grew from 16.9 percent to 22.9 percent, according to Gartner. Nokia's fading Symbian platform dropped significantly as the company switches to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, dropping from 27.7 percent to just 8.6 percent. Research In Motion's platforms fell from 13.0 percent to 6.9 percent.

Windows Phone also dropped, from 2.6 percent to 1.9 percent.

Overall, mobile phone sales reached 419.1 million units in the quarter, a decline of 2 percent, Gartner said, marking the first decline in sales since the second quarter of 2009.

"The year on year decline is due to the weakness of the China market," said Gartner's Carolina Milanesi, vice president for consumer technology research.

Not Enough Goodies for New Year

Unlike the U.S., with its holiday season sales, the fourth quarter in China is not annually the strongest of the year, Milanesi told us. The first quarter is.

"Consumers saw a lack of new devices being launched for Chinese new year and are waiting for more low-end 3G devices to hit the market later in the year," she said. "Performance in North America and Western Europe was in line with expectations."

The report notes that Samsung not only seized the top cell phone position but also took back the top smartphone position from Apple with 38 million smartphones sold worldwide.

Not surprisingly, sales of devices powered by Android made up more than 40 percent of Android sales worldwide, while none of its competitors sold more than 10 percent of the Android-based market.

Other manufacturers that make Android devices include LG, Motorola and HTC. Motorola's share year over year stayed about the same, with 2 percent of the market, while LG dropped from 5.6 percent to 3.5 percent. HTC dropped from 2.2 percent to 1.8 percent.

At 144.4 million units, total smartphone sales rose 44.7 percent year-over-year.

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