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Android grew nine fold in 2010
Gartner stats rank smartphone makers

The mobile phone world is growing quickly in the high-end with more and more mobile users migrating to feature laden smartphones from feature phones and entry-level devices. The average smartphone can often replace multiple devices for some users thanks to digital convergence.

The latest statistics in from Gartner show that smartphone sales are booming in the market with a growth rate of 72% last year. The global market for mobile phones of all types has blossomed to 1.6 billion units according to the research firm. While Apple grabs much of the news with the iPhone smartphone, the company is ranked as the fifth largest mobile phone firm in the world with RIM coming in fourth place.

Gartner also reports that Android smartphones passed Symbian devices in sales for Q4. Symbian is still listed as the best selling smartphone OS overall according to Gartner thanks to the widespread use by other makers of phones using the OS.

Nokia is hurting badly and feeling the heat with new CEO Stephen Elop noting that Nokia was standing on a "burning platform" referring to MeeGo and conceding that Apple owned the high-end market with the iPhone in an employee memo leaked today. Nokia is still the largest mobile phone vendor according to Gartner's numbers, but it declined from 36.4% of the market in 2009 to 28.9% in 2010.

Carolina Milanese from Gartner said, "The decline [of Nokia] is not solely attributable to Nokia’s continuing deficiency in high-end devices but is in part the result of the growth of legitimate white-box sales."

Gartner also noted that about half the phones sold in Q4 in Europe and North America were smartphones and that Android sales had increased by nine times. Samsung Electronics is ranked second in the Gartner list and LG Electronics is third. Both of these firms are selling a large number of Android devices.





"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook



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