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Apple still 'niche' in touchscreen market

The 3G handset is lagging behind market leaders Samsung and Motorola in the touchscreen mobile market, according to an analyst report
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

While Apple's iPhone may be the first device most people call to mind when they think of a touch interface mobile, the 3G device is still lagging behind in the touchscreen market.

According to a report from analysts ABI Research, Samsung and Motorola are the leaders of the pack in touchscreen mobiles, holding 33 percent and 30 percent of the market respectively. Sony Ericsson takes third place with 24 percent share.

"All the other handset vendors — including Apple — are essentially niche players," ABI Research noted.

ABI puts Samsung and Motorola's dominance of the touchscreen mobile market down to their popularity in Asia, where 80 percent of the world's touchscreen devices are sold. Such devices are popular in the region for their ability to allow users to input Asian language characters with a stylus, ABI said.

While Apple may not have been the first device maker to put a touchscreen on a mobile handset, the emergence of the iPhone has certainly boosted the market, inspiring a slew of imitators from Samsung's Omnia to Nokia's rumoured Tube phone.

ABI found that sales of touchscreen devices, including mobiles, personal navigation devices and tablets, rocketed — last year's shipments were up 91 percent on the year before and the researchers believe that by 2009, the market will be worth $5bn (£2.8bn), encouraged in part by the fall in touchscreen component parts.

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