The smartphone market is still seeing solid growth, despite a weak global economy that has consumers cutting back on non-essential goods. Gartner is reporting that Global sales of smartphones in the second quarter of 2009 increased 27% year-on-year, accounting for more than 40 million units sold. Meanwhile, mobile phone sales in general slid 6.1%, compared to Q2 2008. It’s clear that smartphones are becoming increasingly more popular as consumers more openly embrace higher-end mobile phone features. That being said, the growth of the smartphone segment has helped some, while hurting others. Smartphone platforms like Windows Mobile and Symbian continue to lose market share as the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms gain more and more ground. Considering Microsoft just recently saw Android surpassing Windows Mobile’s market share, this has been a bad week for Windows Mobile.
The Windows Mobile operating system, which now lays claim to just 9% of the smartphone market, has been taking hits from other platforms that offer a more compelling user experience and a more finger-friendly user interface. Indeed, touchscreen technology is high on the list of gotta-have features that are helping to drive smartphone adoption across the board. Microsoft will likely continue to see their market share eroding until they can release their overhauled Windows Mobile platform, which we really should be referring to as the “Windows Phone,” hits market.
In the end, friendly smartphone platforms will continue to outperform industry incumbents. Unfortunately, Gartner doesn’t expect Palm’s WebOS to gain enough traction outside the US to ensure Palm’s survival. It’s looking more and more like iPhone and Android are the smartphone platforms to beat!