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Gartner: Apple now world’s fourth largest phone maker

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According to new info from the Gartner research group (http://www.gartner.com) Apple has overtaken Research in Motion to become the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of smartphones and cell phones.

On the downside, Gartner says sales of Google Android devices by Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony and others were greater than that of the iPhone. During the third quarter, Apple had 16.7% of the worldwide smartphone market compared to 25.5% for Android devices, 36.6% for Symbia devices, 14.8% for RIM and 2.8% for Windows Mobile.

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 417 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 35% increase from the third quarter of 2009, according to Gartner. Smartphone sales grew 96% from the third quarter last year, and smartphones accounted for 19.3% of overall mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2010.

“This is the third consecutive double-digit increase in sales year-on-year, indicating that consumer demand is healthy,” says Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This quarter saw Apple and Android drive record smartphone sales. Apple’s share of the smartphone market surpassed Research In Motion (RIM) in North America to put it second behind Android while Android volumes also grew rapidly making it the No. 2 operating system worldwide.”

Although the top three worldwide mobile device manufacturers Nokia, Samsung and LG remained the same — albeit with reduced market share — the third quarter saw Apple rise into the top five manufacturers, surpassing RIM for fourth place.

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