The smartphone market appears to be slowly edging its way out of the recession, showing modest year-on-year growth for all but two companies, according to the latest Smartphone Market Trends Report from Canayls.
The analyst group's 2009/2010 study recorded smartphone growth of just four per cent against the same quarter last year, compared to 13 per cent from the previous quarter.
Nokia retained its pole position for worldwide smartphone shipments, but saw its share fall by about five per cent to 40 per cent.
Apple's iPhone remains a perennial favourite, growing its share by four per cent to 18 per cent thanks in part to high shipments of the 3G S model. Apple is in third place behind RIM, which logged a market share of 21 per cent. HTC stayed firmly in fourth place with five per cent.
"The smartphone market continues to hold up pretty well," said Canalys senior analyst Pete Cunningham.
"While growth has undoubtedly slowed, it is still outperforming the overall mobile phone market by some margin, as well as driving data revenue for operators, and smartphones are ushering in a range of changes in user behaviour when it comes to what people actually do on their phones."
Symbian is still the undisputed leader in terms of operating systems, but saw its share slip to 46 per cent this quarter. RIM and Apple took third and fourth place respectively, while Microsoft is in fourth place with around nine per cent. New entrant Android grew by about one per cent to nearly four per cent.
Cunningham suggested that user satisfaction with the iPhone, and its being offered by new mobile operators, including Orange, will only improve Apple's share.
"Demand for the iPhone 3G S far outstripped supply, and we expect to see continued growth for Apple, especially with new operators coming onboard, for example in the UK with the end of O2's exclusivity on the device," said Cunningham.
"Our end-user research indicates growing demand for touch-screen products, and Apple's satisfaction ratings in our surveys are consistently the highest of any vendor."
The current operator exclusivity deals have an impact on local popularity, according to Canalys, which explained that, while Apple leads in France, RIM holds pole position in the UK.
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