Nokia maintained its smart phone dominance in the second quarter of 2008, selling nearly 15.3 million devices and holding a market share of nearly 48 percent, according to a recent report from Gartner.
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) also showed impressive growth, capturing 17.4 percent of the market by selling nearly 5.6 million devices.
Nokia and BlackBerry combined to help propel the worldwide smart phone market to 32.2 million units sold in the second quarter, a 15.7 percent increase from the same quarter last year, according to Gartner.
Overall, smart phones represented 11 percent of all mobile device sales in the second quarter.
"Although global smart phone sales to end users [in the first half of 2008] reached 64 million units, up 22 percent compared with the first half of 2007, sales increased at a lower rate than in 2007," Gartner principal analyst Roberta Cozza said in a statement. "The current economic environment continues to negatively impact the market, limiting consumer spending and replacement purchases in general. In addition, smart phone sales slowed down as a result of new compelling touch technology mainly available on enhanced phones rather than smart phones."
Despite the slight slow in overall smart phone sales, Cozza said she expected it to grow again in the third quarter, fueled mostly by the introduction of touch-based smart phones, like Apple's 3G iPhone, and other devices.
"Wider availability of new touch smart phone models together with the global introduction of the iPhone 3G will help sales of smart phones return to stronger growth in the third quarter of 2008," Cozza continued.
Rounding out the top six smart phone makers behind Nokia and BlackBerry were HTC with 4.1 percent of the market, Sharp with 4.1 percent and Fujitsu with 3.3 percent. Other smart phone makers made up the remaining 23.6 percent.
Regionally, North America remained the fastest-growing market in the second quarter of 2008, with an increase of 78.7 percent year over year. North America also accounted for 25 percent of global smart phone sales to end users.
But despite its strong quarterly performance, Gartner said Nokia's year-over-year growth is about half of the market average. Nokia took it hit from increased competition in the consumer smart phone market.
"To stay competitive, Nokia will need to introduce more design variations amongst its NSeries models and keep innovating," Cozza said. "The expected introduction of a touch-screen smart phone in the second half of 2008 will test the company's capability to show differentiation and innovation."
RIM, which saw sales spike 126 percent year over year and nearly doubled its market share compared to last year's second quarter, continued to execute well and increase its reach at the consumer level, Cozza said.
HTC was the biggest mover, however, jumping to third in the second quarter market share, a big increase over its No. 7 ranking in the first quarter. According to Gartner, HTC more than doubled its year over year sales, but its overall share was flat compared with the first quarter. Its second quarter performance was based mostly on advances in its Touch product line, which included the HTC Touch Diamond.
Apple, on the other hand, saw its global smart phone sales to end users decrease in the second quarter of 2008, dropping to 2.8 percent in the second quarter from 5.3 percent in the first quarter.
"The significant drop in sales was mainly due to the company having to clean the channel of first-generation iPhone units before the arrival of the iPhone 3G," Gartner said.
Apple's sales figures in the second quarter of 2008 accounted for sales of inventory carried over from the first quarter of 2008. Gartner said it expects iPhone sales to grow significantly in the second half of this year, helping it regain a top position among global smart phone vendors.
Along with looking into smart phone sales, Gartner also examined the smart phone operating system market, which continued to be dominated by Symbian with 57 percent of global sales to end users in the second quarter. Symbian was followed by RIM, which had 17.4 percent of the second quarter market; Microsoft Windows Mobile, which had 12 percent; and Linux, which had 7.3 percent. Other notable operating systems included Mac OS X and Palm OS, which earned 2.8 percent and 2.3 percent of second quarter market share, respectively.