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Smart phone rivals squeeze RIM market share: IDC

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone is introduced at a news conference in New York August 3, 2010. It launches in Canada Sept. 30.

SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

Research In Motion was No. 3 in the global smartphone market after Nokia and Apple in the fourth-quarter 2010, according to an IDC report.

The market research report says the Canadian tech company's growth in the quarter ended Dec. 31 was driven by BlackBerry sales outside North America.

"Meanwhile, RIM continued to enjoy market leadership in North America, but nonetheless saw mounting challenges from the competition," IDC said Monday.

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The ICD report shows that RIM lost market share in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, even as sales surged more than 36 per cent. Its share of the market in the quarter slipped to 14.5 per cent from 19.9 per cent.

While Nokia also lost market share, and Apple's share remained stable as its shipments soared 86 per cent, Samsung, HTC and other manufacturers saw their share of the market gain rapidly. Samsung, for example, boosted its market share to almost 10 per cent from 3.3 per cent, while HTC's share climbed to 8.5 per cent from 4.5 per cent.

For 2010 as a whole, RIM's share dipped to 16 per cent from 19.9 per cent, it shipments gaining more than 40 per cent.

Nokia continued to struggle in the North American market but still stayed on top globally in the quarter, followed by Apple , RIM, Samsung and HTC, IDC said.

IDC noted the growth of smartphones using Google's Android operating system, including HTC, Samsung, Motorola and LG Electronics.

"Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market," said IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas.

For 2011, IDC said it expects vendors to offer more mid-range and low-end smartphones at lower prices to reach the mass market.

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IDC said a total of 100.9 million smartphones were shipped during the fourth quarter, up 87.2 per cent over the same quarter last year.

For the full year, vendors shipped a total of 302.6 million smartphones globally, up 74.4 per cent from 2009.

RIM was recently knocked out of the top five in the broader market for mobile phones, IDC said.

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