Smartphone sales up 98% worldwide, one in four run Android

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Over 80.5 million of the 417 million handsets sold in Q3 2010 were smartphones, meaning year-over-year smartphone sales were up 98 percent worldwide, according to Gartner. The rapid growth of the global mobile market means that hardware and software companies can ship tens of millions units and still lose share in a given quarter.

Apple is now one of the top five bestselling manufacturers, passing Research in Motion to grab fourth place. Nokia, Samsung, and LG still maintain their rankings as the top three cell phone makers. That being said, the iPhone was not the most popular smartphone: phones running Symbian (36.6 percent of Q3 2010), which comes loaded on many Nokia devices, are the most common. They are now closely followed by phones running Google's Android (25.5 percent). Apple's iOS is in third (16.7 percent), RIM's BlackBerry is in fourth (14.8 percent), and Microsoft's Windows Mobile (2.8 percent) is in fifth.

"Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types," Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza said in a statement. "Any platform that fails to innovate quickly either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users."

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