The worldwide smartphone market ended 2010 on a high note, with vendors shipping record volumes of units. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 100.9 million smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2010 (4Q10), up 87.2 percent from the 53.9 million smartphones shipped during 4Q09. For the full year, vendors shipped a total of 302.6 million smartphones worldwide, up 74.4 percent from the 173.5 million smartphones shipped in 2009.
"Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. "It has become the cornerstone of multiple vendors' smartphone strategies, and has quickly become a challenger to market leader Symbian. Although Symbian has the backing of market leader Nokia, Android has multiple vendors, including HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung and a growing list of companies deploying Android on their devices."
Adding to the competitive landscape is the entrance of two refreshed operating systems, Symbian^3 and Windows Phone 7. "In their first quarter of commercial availability, both Symbian^3 and Windows Phone 7 ramped up quickly, just in time for the holidays," added Llamas. "By the end of the quarter, Nokia had shipped five million Symbian^3 units while Windows Phone 7 vendors shipped more than 1.5 million units. Now, with the holiday quarter over, both platforms will need to sustain this initial growth in the quarters to come."
Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program, said component suppliers will help drive sustained interest in smartphones. "Mobile phone users will find compelling reasons to turn in their older models as new ones are launched with dual-core processors and near-field communication chips," he said.
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