Global smartphone sales in 2008 seem to have beaten the economic slump, but slowed down significantly during the last quarter, according to figures from analyst firm Gartner released today.
Worldwide sales reached 139.3 million devices in 2008, up 13.9 per cent compared with 2007. But shipments to end users in the fourth quarter of 2008 totalled 38.1 million units, an increase of just 3.7 per cent on the fourth quarter of 2007, according to Gartner.
"After a strong third quarter with new product introductions, sequential growth slowed down again in the fourth quarter as fewer compelling new products and the worsened economic climate continued to make data plans associated with smartphones out of reach for most consumers," said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.
"In general in 2008, the focus from vendors and operators on increasing their smartphone portfolios remained very strong."
The main winners in 2008 were Samsung, RIM, HTC and Apple, all of which recorded increases in volume and market share by offering "compelling device experiences and touch interfaces", according to Cozza.
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