Analyst firm Gartner said today that after a slow year mobile phone sales should end 2009 on a high, as new handsets hit the market.Worldwide sales of mobile phones in the third quarter topped 308 million units, according to Gartner, and of those, 41 million were smartphones. This represents a 13 percent increase in shipments of more advanced devices, but growth in other areas was flat.“Smartphones continued to represent the fastest-growing segment of the mobile devices market and we remain confident about the potential for smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2009 and in 2010,” said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.Although Apple overtook RIM in Western Europe for the first time since the launch of the iPhone, Gartner believes open platforms will have the most impact on the market, particularly going forward.“The third quarter of 2009 saw the announcement of many new mobile devices, including several Android smartphones ready for the holiday season in the fourth quarter, but hardware commoditisation and the growth in open platforms will make it harder for them to stand out,” added Milanesi.She added that although more units were being sold, margins continued to be squeezed. “While some sales volumes increased, average selling prices (ASPs) stagnated. We expect pressure on ASP to continue into 2010,” she added."Manufacturers should work to differentiate their user interfaces by creating distinct ways of organising users’ information and services," added Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. “However, they need to be careful to maintain application compatibility.”
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