353 million smartphones sold last quarter as emerging markets dominate

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Emerging markets like China drove global smartphone sales growth in the third quarter of 2015, according to the latest figures from Gartner Research. A total of 353 million smartphones were sold over those three months, which represents a 15.5% uptick over the same period one year ago.

The availability of cheaper smartphones helped push sales numbers higher in emerging markets, research director Anshul Gupta said in a statement. While those markets saw 18.4% year-over-year growth in the quarter, more saturated markets in wealthier nations grew by 8.2% in the same span of time.

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Among OEMs, relatively little change was seen in year-over-year terms, the report found. Apple added roughly half a percentage point, Samsung lost about a fifth of one, and most others continued to decline. One of the lone outliers, however, was Huawei, whose sales jumped from just under 16 million in the third quarter of 2014 to more than 27 million in the same period this year. That’s a bigger increase, in raw numerical terms, than either Samsung or Apple.

Platforms were also largely unchanged, as Android continued to dominate with a nearly 85% market share, with iOS in a distant second place at 13%. Both of the top two made minor gains, largely at the expense of Windows Phone, which now accounts for just 1.7% of new sales.

It’s going to remain largely a two-horse race for the foreseeable future, according to research director Roberta Cozza, who said in a statement that Windows will stay on the fringes.

“Despite the announcement of Windows 10, we expect Windows smartphone market share will continue to be a small portion of the overall smartphone OS market as consumers remain attracted by competing ecosystems,” she said. “Microsoft smartphones will mainly focus on driving value for enterprise users.”

Nor will Windows’ smartphone appeal be broadened by the news that an effort to port Android apps to its operating system – which would have vastly expanded the available app ecosystem – has apparently run into difficulties, though it’s unclear whether the program, called Astoria, has been cancelled entirely.

This story, "353 million smartphones sold last quarter as emerging markets dominate" was originally published by Network World.

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