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Apple in second place as smartphones surge

Canalys reports a 28 percent jump in smartphone sales compared to last year, with Apple's iPhone 3G launch vaulting it into second place among vendors worldwide.

The iPhone was the story in the worldwide smartphone market last quarter. Apple

Apple's blowout quarter for iPhone 3G sales lifted it into second place among all smartphone vendors worldwide.

Canalys released market share stats on Thursday showing strong growth for the smartphone market even as the worldwide economic situation takes a turn for the worse. A total of 39.9 million smartphones were shipped during the third calendar quarter of the year, a 28 percent increase over last year's totals.

Nokia is still the leading vendor by a comfortable margin, holding 38.9 percent of the market. But shipments declined slightly, and market share fell 12.5 percent, compared to last year, as Nokia goes through a transition from older models to newer devices that are just getting out into the market, according to Canalys.

Apple was the big story in the smartphone market during the quarter, vaulting over Research In Motion to take second place, with 6.9 million shipments, or 17.3 percent of the market. And RIM had an excellent quarter, increasing BlackBerry shipments by 83 percent and picking up five points of market share.

Canalys thinks that RIM is in good shape to regain the second-place spot with the pending release of several new BlackBerry models, including the Bold, Storm, and clamshell Pearl. It's unclear whether Apple will be able to sustain that level of iPhone 3G shipments during the fourth quarter, given how new the company is to this market.

When the numbers were sorted by operating system, a similar picture emerged. Symbian is the market leader, due to its close association with Nokia, but Apple and RIM are the second- and third-place vendors, respectively. Symbian lost market share during the quarter that was snapped up by Apple, RIM, and Microsoft.

Despite the Apple juggernaut, Microsoft also posted solid gains during the quarter, increasing the number of Windows Mobile handsets shipped by 42 percent. However, Apple shipped more iPhones during the quarter than all the Windows Mobile devices shipped worldwide by Microsoft's partners, according to Canalys.