Gartner has released its second-quarter sales stats for the smartphone market, and there are some interesting -- though not particularly surprising -- results in there.
Riding the popularity of its EVO device, which has been a brisk seller despite its much-maligned battery life, HTC has climbed into the top-ten list of smartphone providers worldwide. Checking in at number eight, the Taiwanese company moved 5.9 million phones last quarter, up from 2.4 million in the same period in 2009 -- good for 139 percent year-over-year growth.
HTC has been busy on the marketing front, but at least as important in its climb up the charts has been its successful leveraging of Google's Android platform with devices like the EVO available through Sprint and the Droid Incredible via Verizon.
Android's continuing surge is one of the other big stories in Gartner's report. Smartphones running Google's mobile operating system accounted for 11.2 million units globally in the second quarter, trailing only Nokia's Symbian OS (25.4 million) and Research In Motion's BlackBerry (11.2 million). That gives Android 17.2 percent of the market, which is astounding considering it was at 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 2009, when a mere 750,000 Android-based phones sold.
While RIM moved considerably more BlackBerrys than it did in the same period last year -- 11.2 million, versus 7.8 million -- it saw its market share slide from 19 percent to 18.2 percent. The Torch, the first device to run RIM's new BlackBerry 6 OS may help reverse that. But "we believe the Torch's form factor will still appeal more to business users than to consumers," said Gartner, warning that "it won't attract many new users to the brand."
Fourth-place Apple sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, up from 5.3 million. So although Apple did lose third place to Google, it saw its share grow from 13 percent to 14.2 percent. But Steve Jobs can't be feeling good about falling behind Android, even though a direct comparison doesn't entirely work since it's one piece of hardware versus dozens from different manufacturers. It'll be interesting to see what happens if the iPhone pops up on Verizon this winter, which is looking increasingly likely.
Among manufacturers, Nokia kept its hold on the worldwide lead, selling 111.5 million units, but its share fell from 36.8 percent to 34.2 percent. Number-two Samsung enjoyed a solid quarter, with an increase in sales from 55.4 million to 65.3 million, which gave it 20.1 percent of the market.
Samsung, noted Gartner, will be one of the first to feature a Windows Phone 7 this year, which will be worth watching. Only 3.1 million Windows Mobile devices sold last quarter, down from 3.8 million in 2Q 2009. Microsoft's market share cratered, falling from 9.3 percent to 5 percent.Overall smartphone sales exploded, climbing 50.5 percent from 41 million to 61.6 million. But the numbers could be better, says Gartner. Shortages of components like active matrix organic LED displays kept some phones from selling as well as they could have.