Motorola, RIM Surge in Smartphones?

Motorola may have finally turned the corner on its decline in mobile devices and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry now represents one in every 10 smartphones sold in the United States, according to a report released today from Strategy Analytics.

Mobile-phone shipments for the U.S. market grew 5.3 percent annually year over year in the second quarter of 2008, reaching 41.9 million units. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) kept its No. 1 position with a 25.8 percent market share.

“In a nutshell I think Motorola may have hit the bottom and is now on the rebound,” Bonny Joy, an analyst covering wireless device strategies for Strategy Analytics, told

The research firm attributes RIM’s (NASDAQ: RIMM) double-digit achievement and Motorola’s continued traction to “attractive” carrier bundle plans the two vendors have put in place, and new devices hitting the market. Joy also said Motorola’s appointment of a new mobile division leader bodes well for third-quarter expectations.

The mobile device growth comes at a time when the market is under increasing stress, given the sluggish economy, a cutback on IT spend and consumers eliminating luxury costs in light of tough economics.

Motorola introduced 16 new handsets in the first half of the year and 10 launched in the second quarter. It plans to launch 34 more by year’s end. RIM recently launched its latest smartphone, the Bold, and has consistently focused attention on the consumer market this year.

According to Joy, the results from Motorola and RIM are important given the market place today. He was surprised by Motorola’s numbers and expected to see greater advancements by LG and fourth-place handset maker Samsung.

LG did grab second place in the U.S. market for the first time in two years, the research report stated.

Motorola last week announced it had hired former Qualcomm leader Sanjay Jha to serve as both co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of the soon-to-be spun-off mobile device division.

For RIM the outlook is just as bright, said Joy, noting the BlackBerry maker “is delivering the full package” these days.

“RIM’s got favorable bundles with all the carriers and is providing both the consumer and the enterprise with a broad product portfolio at a good price point,” Joy said.

RIM and Motorola were unable to comment immediately by press time.

While nowhere near challenging the handset leaders, Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone sales have been remarkable given it’s been on the market a little more than a year.

The vendor shipped 400,000 iPhone units, representing 1 percent North America market share, in the second quarter. Strategy Analytics predicts Apple will ship 6.3 million iPhones in the U.S. by year’s end given the 3G iPhone 2.0 launch in July. It estimates that 500,000 3G units were shipped within the first two weeks of launch.

Updated to add stats for the Apple iPhone.

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