Nokia drops to seventh in smartphone sales in Q3, eyes rebound with Lumia, Gartner says

Holiday sales of smartphones expected to be soft because of interest in tablets

Nokia dropped to seventh place in the global smartphone market in the third quarter, as Samsung and Apple controlled 46.5 per cent of the market, according to Gartner.

Nokia had a "particularly bad quarter" with smartphones, selling 7.2 million, Gartner said in a statement. "The arrival of the new Lumia devices on Windows Phone 8 should help to halt the decline in share in the fourth quarter of 2012, although it won't be until 2013 to see a significant improvement in Nokia's position," Gartner said.

Nokia was in third place in smartphone sales worldwide in the second quarter.

AT&T is selling Nokia's Lumia 920 flagship device for $US99.99 exclusively in the US, almost half of the cost of many smartphones by Nokia's rivals.

Gartner said that fourth-quarter holiday sales will help boost Nokia and others selling smartphones, but also predicted a lower-than-usual boost from the holiday season since consumers are still cautious about spending or finding new gadgets like tablets more attractive as presents.

Even though Nokia did poorly in smartphone sales, it still is second in overall mobile phone sales globally, with 19.2 per cent market share. Samsung's leads that market with a 22.9 per cent share.

Overall, Android smartphone sales by all vendors heavily dominate the market, comprising 72 per cent of the total, up nearly 20 per cent from a year ago. Apple's iPhone, by contrast, is second among smartphones with 13.9 per cent of the total.

Gartner said that Samsung widened its lead over Apple in smartphones in the third quarter, with Samsung selling 55 million smartphones, or 32.5 per cent, while Apple sold 23.6 million, or nearly 14 per cent. Overall, 169.2 million smartphones were sold in the third quarter.

Research in Motion took third place in smartphone sales, selling 8.9 million smartphones, while HTC fourth, selling 8.4 million.

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 email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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