Windows Phone 7 shipped 1.5 million units; we already know that

IDC Q4 report has few details but says WP7 ‘ramped up quickly’

A report out this morning from the research firm IDC provides scant information about sales of smartphones running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 operating system, but says it and a number of devices running a new OS from Symbian for Nokia phones, “ramped up quickly ... Now, with the holiday quarter over, both platforms will need to sustain this initial growth in the quarters to come."

According to this report on global smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2010, Nokia’s Symbian 3 shipped 5 million units and Windows Phone 7 shipped 1.5 million units in the quarter, the latter a number Microsoft already reported as shipments by manufacturers to retailers, not sales to consumers. Microsoft has since revised that number up to 2 million units.

The larger picture is that sales of phones running Google’s Android OS continue to surge. Samsung, which mostly, but not exclusively, sells Android devices, saw units sales leap 439.8 percent in the fourth quarter over the year ago quarter, while HTC, another leading Android seller, saw sales rise 258.3 percent.

A couple of caveats need to be mentioned. WP7 only went on sale Nov. 8 so it was available basically in only two of the three months of the quarter. Also, these are worldwide numbers and I think the numbers to watch are for the U.S. market, which hopefully will follow soon.

Q4 unit sales, percentage growth over the year ago quarter and market share for the top five smartphone vendors are as follows:

  • Nokia, 28.3 million units, 36.1 percent growth, 28 percent share;
  • Apple, 16.2 million units, 86.2 percent growth (impressive!) and 16.1 percent share:
  • RIM/BlackBerry, 14.6 million units, 36.4 percent growth, 14.5 percent share;
  • Samsung, 9.7 million units, the previously mentioned 438.9 percent growth and 9.6 percent share;
  • HTC, 8.6 million unites, 258.3 percent growth and 8.5 percent share.

For the industry as a whole, 100.9 million units were sold in Q4, up 87.2 percent from the year ago quarter.

For all of 2010, smartphone sales jumped 74.4 percent to 302.6 million units, compared to 2009 as customers replace feature phones with smartphones that offer Internet access, e-mail and thousands of unique applications to choose from. IDC forecasts continued growth in 2011 as handset makers begin to offer more “midrange and low-end smartphones at lower prices to reach the mass market.”

For Microsoft, and to be fair other brands, that's already happening. Some WP7 smartphones originally priced at $199.99 when introduced in November, were cut to $99.99 by January.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.