RIM Leads Shipments with 14% Q2 Jump

Worldwide mobile phone shipments jumped by 14.5% in the second quarter, driven by sales of smartphones and entry-level handsets, IDC reported today.

IDC said that Research in Motion led the pack with a 40% increase over the second quarter last year. RIM, which is set to formally launch the new BlackBerry 6 operating system -- perhaps as early as next week -- only sells smartphones. The company shipped its 100 millionth BlackBerry device, and started shipping new Pearl and Bold models in the second quarter.

Many details of the BlackBerry 6 OS have already emerged. The update will include a new user interface along with a browser. Critics have said RIM had to update the browser to stay competitive with Apple's iPhone and a variety of Android devices.

According to IDC, mobile phone vendors shipped 317.5 million devices in the second quarter, up from 277.2 million last year. During the first half of 2010, 620.6 million phones were shipped, up nearly 19% from 523.5 million shipped over the first six months of 2009.

IDC projects that smartphone growth in Latin America and Asia (outside of Japan) will push overall market growth ahead over the last half of 2010. It also expects lower average smartphone prices and an expanding number of smartphone models.

While the iPhone is very strong in the U.S., Apple didn't make the top five mobile phone makers globally because it doesn't even compete in the lower-end market, IDC said. Nokia remained the clear worldwide market leader, shipping 111 million phones and holding 35% of the market. Nokia held a 37% market share in the year ago quarter, when it shipped 103 million phones.

Samsung, with 63.8 million phones shipped and a 20% market share, was second on the list, followed by LG Electronics, which shipped 30.6 million devices and held a 9.6% market share. RIM finished fourth, shipping 11.2 million phones (up from 8 million a year ago) to hold 3.5% of the total market. Sony Ericsson rounded out the top five, shipping 11 million devices to hold a 3.5% share of the market. All other makers combined to hold the remaining 28% of the market.

IDC said Nokia is challenged in the high-end smartphone business.

"Still, the company should not be taken lightly with its strong brand, manufacturing and distribution," IDC analysts wrote today. "Nokia remains optimistic with the upcoming launch of the N8 smartphone, the warm reception to its C3 messaging device and continued success within key emerging markets."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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