Handset Units Increased 13% in Quarter, Analyst Says

Mobile-phone sales grew 13 percent to 308 million units in the second quarter, led by the BlackBerry and other smartphones, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

Research in Motion Inc., which makes the BlackBerry, increased its unit shipments 40 percent from a year earlier for the fastest growth among top-five handset makers, London-based analyst Neil Mawston wrote in an e-mailed report today. Samsung Electronics Co. gained 22 percent.

Both Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest handset maker, and LG Electronics Co. increased their unit volumes less than the industry average, reflecting their lack of flagship high-end smartphones during the quarter. Sony Ericsson Mobile Electronics AB’s shipments declined 20 percent as it changed product lines. Strategy Analytics predicts overall third-quarter growth will be 12 percent, with smartphone product introductions accelerating in the second half.

“There are no credible signs yet of any major double-dip downturn in the handset industry, but that could of course quickly change if conditions were to deteriorate again across North America, Western Europe and Asia,” Mawston said in the report. “The ramp-up in supply will drive higher volumes, but this will inevitably place downward pressure on margins as vendors fight to outsmart rivals.”

Global smartphone shipments rose 43 percent to 60 million units in the second quarter, the researcher said on July 22. Apple Inc. increased shipments 61 percent and now has almost 3 percent of overall handset share and 14 percent of smartphone share.

“The honeymoon period for apple in the mobile world is clearly coming to an end,” Mawston said. “Apple was criticized for its intensive production methods in China, while the iPhone has been heavily criticized for its poorly designed touchable antenna, and may have lost some heartshare in recent weeks because of its perceived mishandling of the antenna problem.”

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