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RIM Surging Ahead In Smartphone Market

While the economy may not be doing too hot right now, the maker of the Blackberry is doing great.

Canadian-based Research In Motion (RIM) has taken large strides in capturing market share in the smartphone market this year, despite some heavy competition. According to Reuters, RIM has sold 5.6 million smartphones from April to June this year, an increase of 3.1 million from the year before. RIM’s Blackberry devices have been considered in the past to be enterprise-focused, however in recent years Blackberries have found their ways into more and more consumer hands.

Although Finland’s Nokia was still easily the global market leader in the smartphone market, in the last year it had witnessed a 3.3 percent drop, down to a 47.5 percent share. RIM on the other hand had nearly doubled its market share in the last year, up to 17.4 percent. Trailing in at third was High Tech Computer (HTC), having managed to more than double its sales in the last year with 1.3 million phones. Apple’s global market share of smartphone sales fell from 5.3 percent to 2.8 percent in the first quarter as it prepared for the launch of its iPhone 3G.

The global smartphone market as a whole has slowed due in part to a weak economy, with global smartphone sales growth nearly halved since the first quarter of the year. The growing success of RIM could stem from the continuing need of corporate devices, while consumer spending may have tightened. Many users of older Palm devices, for example, may be looking to retire their Treos in favor of a Blackberry, a market Apple has failed to capture with its iPhone. As RIM continues to grow into the consumer smartphone market, releasing new designs and features, Apple has stumbled with its attempt to capture a corporate market of its own. Apple’s MobileME service for example was off to a rough start with down times, missing emails and improper billing requests that even had Steve Jobs saying it was "not up to Apple’s standards."

While the Blackberry’s tactile keyboard may be giving RIM an advantage in the corporate environment, touch-screens are a hot feature in the consumer market right now. With the release of Apple’s iPhone 3G, its expected Apple should see a consumer market share increase for the year’s third quarter. With RIM expected to release its own touch-screen device in the near future, rumors saying mid-November, and Nokia’s flagship N96 now shipping, the consumer smartphone market looks to get a bit more exciting.