Apple iPhone outsells all Windows Mobile OS devices in Q3 2008

In its latest smartphone market report, Gartner reports that the Apple iPhone outsold all Windows Mobile devices combined in Q3 2008. This is both true in North America and worldwide.

Overall, the smartphone market had its weakest year-over-year growth ever, recording an 11.5 percent rise over the same quarter in 2007 to reach 36.5 million unit sales. Nokia remained in first place with a 42.4 percent market share but recorded its first decline in year-over-year sales as it faced increased competition and lacked a touchscreen smartphone in its smartphone portfolio. Research In Motion held down second place with an 81.7 percent growth thanks to new products and a strong push into consumer market. Apple regained third spot with a 12.9 percent market share.

The operating system landscape was very similar: Symbian in first, followed by RIM’s BlackBerry OS and the Apple iPhone OS in third.

Gartner also warns that there are more challenges ahead for Windows Mobile. Open-source operating systems from Google and Symbian Foundation will certainly be stronger players in 2009. The ongoing lack of a competitive user interface will also prove a liability for Windows Mobile devices when compared to other consumer smartphones.

Given the economic uncertainty affecting most the world, Gartner expects that growth will slow down further. While more and more carriers are offering customers subsidized smartphones, Gartner reports that too many are tied to extended contracts and expensive monthly plans, preventing the market from growing at a faster rate.

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