Samsung beats 2009 handset forecast on touchscreen demand

Samsung has sold 50 million touchscreen handsets so far this year

Samsung Electronics is on track to beat its 2009 sales target of 200 million mobile phones, and touchscreen handsets will account for one of every five mobile phones it sells this year, the company said Monday.

The company did not provide a new mobile phone sales target.

Samsung held the second-largest share of the worldwide mobile phone market in the third quarter, trailing Nokia but well ahead of third-placed LG Electronics, according to market researcher IDC.

The South Korean electronics giant has sold 50 million touchscreen mobile phones so far this year, the company said. Last year, Samsung had only sold 10 million touchscreen handsets by the end of November.

"The growth in sales shows the rapid adoption of touchscreen phones by mainstream consumers," the company said in a statement, noting the importance of multimedia as well as sleek handset designs.

Touchscreens have become more popular on smartphones. The proportion of smartphones with touchscreens reached 45 percent in the third quarter of this year, up from 31 percent a year ago, according to market researcher Canalys.

Nokia, Research In Motion (RIM), Apple and High Tech Computer (HTC), in descending order of market share, together hold 80 percent of the smartphone market, Canalys says.

Samsung said its Star (S5230) multimedia mobile phone introduced in May is its best selling mobile so far, with sales passing 10 million units within six months of the launch, while the F480 has sold 9 million units since May 2008 and the Corby (S3650) has sold 3 million units in the two months since its September launch.

Samsung has sold most of its touchscreen handsets in Europe, 19 million, followed by the U.S. at 6.3 million, China at 3.4 million and South Korea at 3.0 million, the company said in the statement.

Nokia remained atop the worldwide mobile phone market with a 37.8 percent share in the third quarter, according to IDC.

Samsung came in second with a 21 percent share, followed by LG's 11 percent, Sony Ericsson's 4.9 percent and Motorola's 4.7 percent.

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