Smartphone sales shoot through the roof

Sales of smartphones rocketed to 53 million units in Q4 2009, a 30 per cent increase on the comparable quarter in 2008.

Smartphone shipments reached an all-time high of 173.8 million units in 2009, a 15 per cent increase on 2008, according to the latest numbers from Strategy Analytics.

Tom Kang, Senior Analyst at the company said, "This was the strongest period of growth since Q3 2008 and smartphones are leading the handset industry out of recession. Sales are being driven by stronger consumer demand and a stream of attractive new 3G models tempting buyers into retail stores.”

The outlook for 2010 is set in a competitive landscape. Apple has thrown an iCat amongst the pigeons and Samsung and LG have ambitious plans to grow volumes and expand their app stores, while emerging players like Google, Dell and Huawei are strengthening their device portfolios and courting major operators, the analysts reckon.

And the battle will will be good news for consumers as prices are likely to be driven down by the competition.

Nokia shipped a record 20.8 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2009, rising an impressive 38 percent from 15.1 million units a year earlier. The outfit's E71 and E72 messaging phones were well receieved, the phone-counters note.

RIM shipped a record 10.7 million Blackberries worldwide in Q4 2009, remaining comfortably ahead of Apple’s 8.7 million units during the quarter.