SmartPhones Around The Globe - Regional Updates

Gartner Recently released their report with global smartphone sales and growth around the world, but how do regions stack up in terms of growth and adoption.

Neil Young, CEO of Ngmoco told Venture Beat that “Ngmoco generates more than half of its revenue from outside the U.S.”

North America

  • Smartphone sales grew 69% in 2008
  • In 2008 the market continued to grow, despite a down economy
  • Smartphones are accounting for 20% of sales, a dramatic increase vs. 2007
  • Predictions are that sales growth will slow.
  • Growth will be driven by operators pushing data plans.
  • Smarphones will see more competition from full-feature enhanced phones will full qwerty keyboards, which have similar functionality but are cheaper.


  • Smartphone sales recorded 2.3% sequential growth; Sales of high-end devices remained strong
  • 7.5 million unit sales
  • Mobile devices overall dropped by 9.2% in 2008 due to weak consumer confidence.
  • Nokia lost only 2% market share to Apple.  RIM and Samsung are both gaining share.
  • Touch devices are growing.

Europe, Middle East and Africa

  • Smartphone growth up only 2% in Q4
  • Replacement purcahses are dropping in Europe, yet smartphone sales increased by 9.6% in 2008
  • Samsung’s new phone the Omnia was the major contributor to growth; Samsung share nearly trippled in the 4th quarter of 2008.

“In 2009, mobile platforms will be a major battleground as the associated user experience and role of the ecosystem grow in importance.”

Who Owns the SmartPhone Market? 2008 Market Share by Phone and Operating System

Gartner Research recently released Q4 and 2008 global market share reports for smartphones, both by device and by operating system.  The results might surprise you.  Especially when you see who is and isn’t growing.

WorldWide Device Sales

Gartner Worldwide Smartphone Device Sales for 2008

Gartner Worldwide Smartphone Device Sales for 2008


  • RIM Blackberry continues extremely strong growth.
  • Nokia is is sharp decline.
  • HTC continues to have strong growth

WorldWide Operating System Growth

Gartner Worldwide Smartphone Sales to end User by Operating System for 2008

Gartner Worldwide Smartphone Sales to end User by Operating System for 2008


  • Symbian is declining quickly due to pressure from new platforms and the decline of Nokia (which uses the Symbian OS).  Share is down to 47 % from 62% in 2007.
  • RIM continues to grow, now at 20% of market vs. 11% in 2007
  • Android smartphones are estimated to account for 20% of all Linux OS sales, making the Android OS a relatively small global player.  Linux sales are growing quickly (up 19%) primarily driven by Anroid-based smartphones sold through T-Mobile.
  • Microsoft Mobile is growing driven by popularity of the Samsung Omnia and HTC touchscreen products.

So What?

One of the key issues with fragmentation in the smartphone Operating System market is that it creates issues for app developers.  Currently different versions of apps need to be created for each OS - companies aren’t going to hire hundreds of programmers to program each OS.  ZDNET predicts that Android and Windows Mobile are likely to get pushed out of the picture.

That doesn’t mean it’s time to count other platforms out. Andrew Lacy, chief executive of Tapulous, said he expects the Google Android, Palm Pre, Nokia, Windows Mobile and RIM BlackBerry platforms are all likely to see good growth in the coming year as smart phones replace older phones at a fast clip. But Lacy said it will become much tougher to support other programs if it means hiring a couple of hundred programmers to adapt games to run on all of the other platforms. - Venture Beat