According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew a huge 50 percent year-over-year, to reach 54 million units in Q1 2010. This was the strongest period of growth for almost 3 years and smartphones continue to lead the handset industry out of recession.

Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, said in the press release, “Global smartphone shipments reached 54 million units during Q1 2010, accounting for 18 percent of handset volumes, and growing a huge 50 percent from 36 million in Q1 2009. This was the strongest period of growth for almost 3 years and the high-value smartphone market is leading the handset industry out of recession. Sales are being driven by healthy operator subsidies, vigorous competition between vendors and a growing tide of lower-cost models using operating software like Symbian and Android.”

Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics, added in the press release, “The global smartphone market will head in two broad directions this year. Some smartphone vendors, such as Nokia, will chase growing mid-tier volumes in emerging markets such as China and India. Other brands, such as Motorola, will focus on mature markets like the US and explore a new wave of services beyond Internet browsing and email such as high-quality video and navigation.”

Other findings from Strategy Analytics’ Q1 2010 Global Smartphone Market Share Update report include:

Apple increased its global smartphone shipments from 13.7 million units in 2008 to 25.1 million units in 2009 and grew its global smartphone market share from 9.1% in 2008 to 14.4% in 2009. In the first calendar quarter of 2010, Apple’s global smartphone market share grew to 16.4%, up from 9.1% YOY, to closely follow RIM’s Q1 2010 global smartphone share of 19.7%, down from 20.3% YOY. Apple is now just 3.3 percentage points behind RIM with a next-gen iPhone expected soon.

RIM shipped 10.6 million smartphones worldwide in Q1 2010, versus Apple’s 8.8 million units during the quarter. RIM has become the largest mobile device vendor of North American origin, ahead of rivals Apple and Motorola. However, RIM’s annual growth rate slowed to just 45 percent in Q1 2010 and its new Blackberry OS 6.0 upgrade due in Q3 2010 is badly needed.

• Nokia shipped a record 21.5 million smartphones worldwide in Q1 2010, rising an above-average 57 percent from 13.7 million units a year earlier. We believe China, South America and Africa Middle East were regional hotspots for Nokia, while North America remains a problem-child and one that is crimping profits and still badly needs attention.

Source: Strategy Analytics

Strategy Analytics is a global, independent research and consulting firm. The company is headquartered in Boston, USA, with offices in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and China. Visit for more information.

Source: Strategy Analytics

[Attribution: The Register. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lava_Head_UK” for the heads up.]