428 Million Mobile Devices Were Sold Last Quarter

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Years after it began, the scale of the shift to cellphones can still boggle the mind. The analyst group Gartner reported today that 428 million phones were sold last quarter and that they expect 1.79 billion phones to be sold for all of 2011.

Compared with those massive global numbers, the high-end smartphones like Apple's iPhone and the Google Android-powered Droid made by HTC are relatively small potatoes. Apple sold 16.8 million iOS devices last quarter but obviously that's only good for a 3.9 percent market share.

The largest player in the cell phone space remains Nokia, which lost five percent market share but still held onto a quarter of the globe's cell phone trade. That's a great reminder that even though Nokia's limping, they're impending tie-up with Microsoft could create a new formidable competitor for all the incumbents.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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