SAN JOSE, Calif. Smartphone sales surged 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to sales in the previous quarter with Apple, Nokia and Research in Motion all riding the wave. The rise represents a particularly sharp rebound from generally depressed sales last year, said an analyst from ABI Research.
Handset sales are usually strongest in the fourth quarter, but the period last year was significantly above average, ABI said in its latest quarterly report. Falling prices and new entry-level smartphones helped drive sales.
"The robust strength of this market's recovery is very encouraging indeed," said Michael Morgan, an analyst at ABI. "Granted, the fourth quarter is usually better than the third, but 3Q saw only a 3.6 percent growth over the second quarter," he said.
Apple had its best smartphone quarter on record, and Nokia did extremely well, shipping 21 million smartphones compared to its usual 15-16 million. RIM had a strong showing as well with its BlackBerry Curve selling more units than the Apple iPhone in some markets, ABI reported.
North America showed the strongest growth at 30 percent, however both Apple and RIM increased sales significantly in Europe and Asia. Apple iPhone sales in Asia-Pacific rose 500 percent year-over-year in 2009, thanks to new carrier deals there.