U.S. sales of Apple's iPhone, which rose dramatically in the third quarter of this year, dropped significantly in the fourth quarter. At the same time, sales of BlackBerrys increased to the point where RIM has more than double Apple's share of this market.
According to market-research firm IDC, Apple had 30.1% of the U.S. smartphone market during the third quarter of 2008, but that dropped to 22.3% in the fourth quarter.
By contrast, RIM's share of this market was 40.4% in the third quarter of last year, and this rose to 47.5% by the end of the year.
It's All about New Models
RIM had a poor showing during the third quarter of last year because customers were waiting for some new products to be released: the BlackBerry Bold, the BlackBerry Storm, and the BlackBerry Pearl Flip. All of these debuted in Q4, pushing up RIM's results.
Apple on the other hand, hasn't released a new smartphone since the iPhone 3G last summer, and isn't expected to do so until this summer. This leads to an inevitable pattern of strong sales after each release followed a drop off until the next model comes along.
Smartphones Sold Well Well Worldwide
IDC's report also says that the global market for smartphones grew strongly in 2008, up 22.5% over the previous year.
"In mature markets, such as North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), the converged mobile device segment grew 70.1% and 25.0% respectively in 2008," said Ryan Reith, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker.
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