Gartner: iOS growth stalls as consumers hold out for iPhone 5


Global sales of mobile phones slipped 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2012, a decline blamed in part by mounting anticipation for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) not-yet-announced iPhone 5 and corresponding consumer disinterest in the current iPhone 4S model, according to new data issued by Gartner.

Mobile phone sales fell to 419 million units worldwide during the second quarter, down from 428 million in the year-ago period, Gartner reports. Smartphone sales accounted for 36.7 percent of all phone purchases, an increase of 42.7 percent. iPhone sales plummeted 12.6 percent from the first quarter of 2012, but increased 47.4 percent year over year--depending on when the next iteration of the iPhone hits retail, Gartner anticipates iOS could continue its slump during the third quarter.

The iPhone waiting game is not the sole culprit behind diminishing sales, however: Gartner also blames the challenging economic environment and eroding demand for feature phones. "High-profile smartphone launches from key manufacturers such as the anticipated Apple iPhone 5, along with Chinese manufacturers pushing 3G and preparing for major device launches in the second half of 2012, will drive the smartphone market upward," said Anshul Gupta, Gartner principal research analyst. "However, feature phones will continue to see pressure."

The iPhone nevertheless accounted for 18.8 percent of all smartphones sold worldwide in the second quarter, up slightly from 18.2 percent a year ago. The big winner in the second quarter was Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, which fueled 64.1 percent of smartphones sold between April 1 and June 30, surging from 43.4 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

Android's explosive growth came at the expense of former worldwide leader Symbian, which now powers just 5.9 percent of second quarter smartphone purchases, tumbling from 22.1 percent a year earlier. Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry also experienced steep losses, sliding to 5.2 percent of sales compared to 11.7 percent last year at this time. Samsung's Bada OS (up to 2.7 percent from 1.9 percent a year ago) and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone (also at 2.7 percent, compared to 1.6 in the second quarter of 2011) both experienced sales increases but remain far off the lead.

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