Worldwide smartphone shipments nearly double in Q4

IDC reports 87% increase over fourth quarter of 2009, 74% increase for year

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Vendors shipped 100.9 million smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2010, up 87.2% from the 53.9 million smartphones shipped during the fourth quarter of 2009, according to International Data Corporation's (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

IDC also reports that annual smartphone shipments were 302.6 million last year, up 74.4% from the 173.5 million smartphones shipped in 2009.

(Also see: Hispanics, Asians in U.S. more likely to own smartphones)

"Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market," Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team, said in a statement accompanying the report. "It has become the cornerstone of multiple vendors' smartphone strategies, and has quickly become a challenger to market leader Symbian. Although Symbian has the backing of market leader Nokia, Android has multiple vendors, including HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung and a growing list of companies deploying Android on their devices."

Not to mention that market leader Nokia is stumbling badly, with new CEO Stephen Elop hinting at an executive bloodletting as the Finnish company continues to bleed market share.

Not surprisingly, IDC expects further gains for the smartphone market this year.

"IDC expects vendors to provide more mid-range and low-end smartphones at lower prices to reach the mass market," Llamas said. "In the same manner, even high-end devices will become available at lower prices. This will result in greater competition and more selection for users."

IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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