“Research In Motion Ltd., Palm Inc., Nokia Corp. and Apple Inc. all saw their shares take a hit Monday, retreating following a research report that showed a dramatic slowdown in the sales growth of so-called smartphones,” Dan Gallagher reports for MarketWatch.

“The term smartphone refers to devices, such as the BlackBerry, the iPhone and the Palm Treo, designed to handle email, Web surfing and organization tasks as well as phone calls and text messages. Such devices have been the fastest-growing segment of the wireless device market, thanks to growing demand for mobile computing products.
A report from market research firm Gartner Inc. found that sales of smartphones grew nearly 16% globally during the second quarter. While strong, that represented a sharp drop from the 55% growth rate in the same period last year,” Gallagher reports.

MacDailyNews Take: If those other things are “smartphones,” then Apple’s iPhone really needs a new category for itself. “Geniusphone,” perhaps?

Gallagher continues, “‘The current economic environment continues to negatively impact the market, limiting consumer spending and replacement purchases in general,’ wrote Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, in the report.”

“Shares of Apple traded down nearly 4%… The report found that the company’s share of smartphone sales fell during the second quarter as it cleaned out inventories ahead of the 3G iPhone, which went on sale in July. The company’s sales are expected to increase ‘dramatically’ in the second half of the year amid strong demand for the new device, the report predicted,” Gallagher reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JES42” for the heads up.]

So why did Apple shares fall today if their “slowdown” was directly attributable to the iPhone transition and iPhone 3G sales are expected to increase “dramatically?’ There seems to be quite a disconnect here. Could it not be that smartphone sales took an understandable break as consumers waited for Apple’s iPhone 3G and not, as Gartner says, due to the “current economic environment.” After all, as evidenced by iPhone 3G lines that continued out the door and unabated for weeks, the “current economic environment” did not negatively affect smartphone sales, as long as they were iPhones, that is. Plenty of people – multiple millions, in fact – seemed to have at least, if not more than, enough cash for iPhones. Logic, Gartner, logic. Give it a try sometime.

The reason “smartphones” sales went into the toilet is because the smart smartphone buyers were waiting for and then buying Apple’s iPhone 3G, eschewing the antiquated devices offered up by the Palms, Nokias, RIMs, etc. of the world.

On other words: bloodbath. Even Wall Street will figure it out eventually.