(BLOOMBERG) - Global smartphone shipments surged 55 percent in the fourth quarter, as demand for Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone 4S countered declines byResearch In Motion Ltd. (RIM) and Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), International Data Corporation said.
Shipments advanced to 158 million units from 102 million a year earlier, exceeding IDC’s forecast for a gain of 40 percent, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based research firm said today in a statement.
Smartphone demand is increasing as prices for devices become more affordable, encouraging users to upgrade to handsets on which they can browse the Web and send e-mail. Existing users are also trading up to more powerful smartphones such as the iPhone 4S, which went on sale in October. Apple sold 37 million iPhones last quarter, helping the Cupertino, California-based company to double its profit in the period.
By the end of 2011, one out of every three mobile phones shipped worldwide was a smartphone, and the iPhone 4S “played a key role in smartphone growth to capture pent-up demand,” Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, said in the statement.
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