Despite Economy, One-Quarter Billion Phones Sold During Q1 - InformationWeek
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4/24/2009
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Despite Economy, One-Quarter Billion Phones Sold During Q1

The global economic slowdown has seemingly impacted every company out there to some degree. The economy has been an ongoing factor in the performance if the world's handset makers, but that didn't stop more than 250 million people from buying new phones in the first quarter of 2009.

The global economic slowdown has seemingly impacted every company out there to some degree. The economy has been an ongoing factor in the performance if the world's handset makers, but that didn't stop more than 250 million people from buying new phones in the first quarter of 2009.The numbers come from ABI Research. According to their data, 258 million phones were sold during the first quarter of the year. That represented an 11% decline compared to the year-ago quarter, but it still beat expectations, which were set at about 253.5 million. Not a shabby start to the year, all things considered.

Apple revealed its quarterly numbers earlier this week, and we know it sold a whopping 3.79 million iPhones worldwide. Nokia's CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, touted sales of the 5800 XpressMusic, which are estimated to be at 3 million for the year. Devices such as these led the way, but the competition wasn't far behind.

"As always there are winners and losers," commented practice director Kevin Burden in a prepared statement. "Samsung and LG demonstrated healthy gains to take their market shares to 17.8% and 8.8% respectively. Another star performer was RIM which raised its share to 3.0% due largely to the success of its Blackberry Bold. It is a little curious that Apple's market share is just 1.5% given the success of its AppStore. As popular as the iPhone 3G has been, increased competition in the touchscreen segment and a lack of product differentiation may be dampening demand."

Apple claims it has sold about 21 million iPhones now it total. Not a big figure for nearly two years in the market. With iPhone OS 3.0 on the way -- and hopefully new hardware -- there's still plenty of room for Apple to grow its presence in the market. ABI's forecasts predict that the second quarter will also see a drop compared to the year-ago quarter, but also notes that 2Q08 was particularly strong with respect to mobile phone sales.

Any way you look at it, things could be a lot worse for the handset industry. A drop of 11% isn't great news, but it's not devastating news, either.

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