Global smartphone market soars in Q3 -

The global smartphone market reached new highs during the third quarter of 2010 according to a report by IDC.

And leading vendors got richer, posting double- or even triple-digit year-over-year growth. In its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, IDC said vendors shipped a total of 81.1 million units, up 89.5 percent from the 42.8 million units shipped during 3Q09.

For the first three quarters of 2010, it said vendors had shipped a total of 200.6 million units, up 67.6 percent from the 119.6 million units shipped during the first three quarters of 2009.

And the good news keeps on coming with IDC claiming that that by the end of 2010 it predicts more than 20 percent of all devices shipped worldwide will be converged mobile devices. This is an important point as the company claims this is the first time this has happened. In comparison, 15 percent of all devices shipped in 2009 were converged mobile devices.

Despite its problems this year, Nokia came out trumps leading all vendors in the worldwide smartphone market, posting solid year-over-year growth, and launching the C7 and its first Symbian 3 device, the N8. However, IDC said despite these accomplishments, Nokia's ASPs trended down and its market share continued to shrink as competition in the smartphone market ramped up. The company's plans to release a MeeGo-powered device in 2011 are still on track, but will take place without its director, Ari Jaaksi, who has joined the dark side as senior vice president of webOS at HP.

Apple marked a new milestone in iPhone shipments, taking second place. According to IDC the third quarter is typically Apple's highest volume quarter, and 3Q10 was no exception. Consumers who did not get their iPhone 4 at the end of June were rewarded for their patience and even the much-hyped 'Antennagate' did little to dampen demand, as the company moved swiftly to provide devices.

Research In Motion, despite reaching a new record level of shipments in a single quarter, fell to third place for the quarter. However, IDC said the the BlackBerry manufacturer was able to keep its leader crown in North America thanks to its BlackBerry Curve 8520.

Samsung posted the highest year-over-year change of all the leading smartphone manufacturers which IDC said was as a result of the launch of its Galaxy S Android-powered smartphones and the continued popularity of its Wave smartphones. It said in the near future Samsung is poised to ship mass market smartphones as well as be one of the first companies to ship a Windows Phone 7 device. By the end of the year, Samsung aims to ship 10 million units for the quarter.

And it was also good news for HTC, which posted triple-digit year-over-year growth on the strength of its Android-powered smartphones worldwide. During this quarter IDC claimed  that the manufacturer broadened its device selection to include the Desire and G2. HTC also has five Windows Phone 7 devices for launch during 4Q10, the research company said.

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Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, said: "That the smartphone market has grown nearly ninety percent from last year and more than six times the overall mobile phone market indicates strong demand worldwide and vendors' collective ability to meet that demand,"

"Increasingly, users look to smartphones as their next devices while carriers have broadened selection and offered generous subsidies. To keep up with demand, vendors' plans to emphasize smartphones in their portfolios have resulted in sharp growth as evidenced by Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. We expect more vendors to do the same."