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Samsung, Apple, HTC strong Q1 mobile figures

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It’s been a big year so far for mobile devices with 428 million sold worldwide in the first quarter – a 19 per cent jump year on year.

The big winners are Samsung, Apple and HTC who all saw significant improvements from the same period in 2010.

The figures were not so kind to Nokia which sold more than 107 million devices yet still saw a 5.5 per cent drop in its market share – its lowest since 1997.  

Smartphones accounted for 23.6 per cent of these sales in the first quarter of 2011 which is a massive 85 per cent increase from 12 month ago.

“This share could have been even higher, but manufacturers announced a number of high-profile devices during the first quarter of 2011 that would not ship until the second quarter of 2011,” said Robert Crozza, principal research analysts at Gartner.

“We believe some consumers delayed their purchases to wait for these models.”

Samsung had its strongest first quarter ever thanks to the popularity of its range of Galaxy smartphones

Apple sold more than 16.8 million iPhones worldwide which is more than double what the company sold in the first quarter of last year.

The iPhone is available in 90 countries around the world across 186 operators.

“This strong performance helped Apple consolidate its position as the fourth largest brand in the mobile communication market overall,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

“Considering the higher than average price of the iPhone this is a remarkable result and highlights the impact that a strong aspirational brand can have on a product.”

Strong high end products saw HTC record some remarkable growth with 9.3 million units sold on this year’s first quarter – a 1.3 per cent increase that saw the Taiwanese company become the seventh largest brand in mobiles.

In terms of smartphone operating system market share Android has seen remarkable growth in 12 months going from 9.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2010 to a stunning 36 per cent for the first quarter of 2011.

Symbian – the operating system found on Nokia handsets – hung on to second place with 27.4 share of the market – a huge drop down from 44.2 per cent a year ago.

Apple’s iOS came in third with 16.8 per cent, sneaking ahead of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry operating system in fourth on 12.9 per cent.

Gartners analysts see the shift towards apps and services will drive customers to stick with one particular operating system.

“Every time a user downloads a native app to their smartphone or puts their data into a platform’s cloud service, they are committing to a particular ecosystem and reducing the chances of switching to a new platform. This is a clear advantage for the current stronger ecosystem owners Apple and Google,” said Ms. Cozza.

“As well as putting their devices in the context of a broader ecosystem, manufacturers must start to see their smartphones as part of a computing continuum.”