Ina Fried

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Smartphone Sales Jump in First Quarter, But Less So for RIM, Nokia

As expected, worldwide smartphone sales enjoyed huge growth in the first quarter, posting a year-over-year increase of nearly 80 percent according to IDC. In all, nearly 100 million smartphones shipped last quarter, up from 55 million in the first quarter of 2010.

But that growth was not shared equally. Apple, Samsung and HTC all at least doubled their sales, while RIM and Nokia posted only modest gains.

Nokia held on to the top spot, with nearly a quarter of the market. But its share fell from 38 percent as the company managed only 12 percent unit growth, by far the lowest of the top players. RIM’s 31 percent year-over-year growth dropped it to No. 3 in the charts behind Apple, which now controls 18.7 percent of the worldwide market, nearly five percentage points more than RIM.

Samsung came in at No. 4 with 10.8 percent market share, a huge jump from the 4.3 percent it had a year ago, while HTC also gained huge share, finishing the quarter with 8.9 percent of the market, up from just under 5 percent a year ago.

The numbers reflect the strong growth for Android and Apple’s iPhone, while the BlackBerry and Symbian devices continued to lose steam despite the huge overall growth in smartphones.

“The rise of Android as a prominent mobile operating system has allowed several suppliers to gain share quickly,” IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement. “Also, the relatively nascent state of smartphone adoption globally means there is ample room for several suppliers to comfortably co-exist, at least for the short term.”