Sales of smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system (OS) declined by 20 percent in the third quarter according to Gartner, despite a 13 percent increase in the total number of smartphone sales. Only 3.2 million smartphone units running the OS were sold in the third quarter, Gartner said, down from the 4.05 million units sold in the third quarter of 2008. As such, Windows Mobile had a 7.9 percent share of the total smartphone OS market in the third quarter, out of a total of 41 million smartphones sold to end users. Symbian, the OS predominantly used by Nokia devices, finished first with 44.6 percent market share, while Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS finished second with 20.8 percent, and the iPhone finished third with 17.1 percent. “Windows Mobile 6.5 only became available in October, too late to have an impact on the third quarter, so sales of Windows-based smartphones saw another decline,” noted a Gartner statement.
Last month Microsoft unveiled its new mobile strategy, branding devices that run the new Windows Mobile 6.5 OS as ‘Windows Phones’ and promising a new version 7 of the platform next year. In related news today, it has been reported that Windows Mobile 6.5 users now have the option of downloading new apps from Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace from a desktop browser rather than just the on-handset portal.