Riding a big wave of Android popularity and mainstream acceptance, Samsung and HTC surged in handset and tablet sales in the first quarter of this year worldwide, while iPhones also found happy landings, doubling sales in a year.
Gartner's report, released Thursday, also reiterated the continuing domination of Google's Android operating system, which held onto the No.1 spot with a 36 percent market share, followed by Symbian at nearly 28 percent. But the report pointed out that Symbian may be headed out to pasture soon with the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, so it presents the opportunity for third-place Apple's iOS to finally ascend to No.2.
The analysis also pointed out the lackluster performance from Windows phones, which "saw only modest sales that reached 1.6 million units in the first quarter of 2011, as devices launched at the end of 2010 failed to grow in consumer preference." (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
In the mobile device wars, Samsung experienced its "strongest first quarter ever" with nearly 69 million units sold, thanks to a spurt of announcements and a shift to the higher-end Galaxy smartphones earlier this year.
HTC also saw big gains, overtaking Research in Motion as the No. 2 smartphone manufacturer in the U.S., which Gartner attributes to HTC's slicker smartphone products.
But on the other end of the spectrum, Nokia continues to slide, though it still holds the No.1 position in worldwide mobile phone sales with 107.6 million devices. Its market share declined 5.5 percentage points from where it was last year, hitting its lowest point since 1997.
In-between, Apple did very well, selling 16.9 million iPhones to fanboys and girls in 90 countries, doubling its sales from this same time last year.
Overall, smartphones seem to be the go-to choice for consumers.
"Smartphones accounted for 23.6 percent of overall sales in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 85 percent year-on-year," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. "This share could have been even higher, but manufacturers announced a number of high-profile devices during the first quarter of 2011 that would not ship until the second quarter of 2011. We believe some consumers delayed their purchases to wait for these models."
Among the models out or expected for release this second quarter: The Droid X2, the HTC Trophy, the HP Veer 4G and the white iPhone 4, all of which you can read about on Gadgetbox.
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