Despite a recession in the United States, the smartphone segment will have strong growth this year, according to a report by ABI Research. The report, titled "Mobile Devices Market Sizing And Share," said more than 171 million smartphones were shipped last year, and that figure will grow as wireless operators seek to sell more data plans and manufacturers seek higher margins.
"What is certain is that handset vendors will be trying to convince everyone they should own a smartphone," said Jake Saunders, Asia-Pacific VP of ABI Research, in a statement. "Welcome to the year of the smartphone."
Nokia continued to dominate the field, as ABI said it finished 2008 with about 38.6% of the market. Driven by the success of the touch-screen Omnia, Samsung was in second place with 16.2%. This was followed by LG Electronics, which had 8.3% of the market.
The biggest loser of the year was Motorola, ABI said, as the company lost 5% market share. Sony Ericsson is expecting some tough business months ahead, but it still claimed 8% of the market.
Research In Motion and Apple hold a relatively small amount of the market, but ABI said both are in good positions to capitalize on increased adoption of smartphones. RIM holds about 2% of the entire market, and handsets like the BlackBerry Bold and Storm will make it a strong player with the enterprise and prosumer buyers. Apple has grabbed 1.1% of the global market, which is quite a feat considering it entered the space less than two years ago. The iPhone 3G continues to sell well, and analysts predict Apple could bring out another model this year to further boost sales.
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