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Nokia leading handset market, BlackBerry tops the smartphones

Global sales figures down, though
Nokia leading handset market, BlackBerry tops the smartphones

A new report by WirelessWeek shows Nokia to be holding its market lead in handset sales, despite a small drop over the same period last year from 40.9 per cent to 38.1 per cent, which appears to have been shared out between Samsung - its closest rival - and LG.

Whether this is related to the launch of the Ovi Store seems a little unlikely at this point, considering Nokia's online application store has only just launched, but it's definitely good news for developers looking to distribute online.

RIM has also maintained its smartphone lead, with the iPhone coming in second place. This probably isn't particularly discouraging for Apple considering it's only got one handset on the market, of course.

But there's little reason for the majority of handset manufacturers to celebrate, as global sales are down a whopping 13 per cent year-on-year, according to Strategy Analytics - the fastest decline since the industry began in 1983.

Service providers noted an increase in customers, however, which seems a little contradictory. The difference in figures suggests the recent trend for consumers accepting credit on their contracts for keeping their previous handset is the reason behind the discrepancy.

Coupled with a prediction from In-Stat that 2009 will see a global handset decline of 20.5 per cent, it seems the economic winter won't be passing for handset manufacturers for quite some time.