We know that smartphone sales on the increase but an analyst says that they will outstrip worldwide PC sales by the end of 2011.  The report, by RBC analyst Mike Abramsky, estimates that by that time shipments of both will be approaching 400 million a year.

Smartphone sales are on the increase, with standard mobile sales decreasing - and that is pushing PC giants such as Apple, Dell, Acer and Microsoft into the lucrative arena.

Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 286.1 million units in the second quarter of 2009, a 6.1 percent decrease from the second quarter of 2008, according to Gartner. However, smartphone sales surpassed 40 million units, a 27 percent increase from the same period last year, representing the fastest-growing segment of the mobile-devices market.

"Given the higher margins, smartphones offer the biggest opportunity for manufacturers. It is the fastest-growing market segment and the most resistant to declining average selling prices ," said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

PC outsider Apple is picking up particular praise from analysts, concerning its iPhone smartphone strategy.

Telecom.com reports RBC saying of Apple's 2008 estimated 11 percent share of the smartphone market: "We view the iPhone as a ten-year platform, with significant growth and share gains ahead. Our outlook reflects continued iPhone share gains in domestic and international markets, driven by distribution expansion, more innovations in devices and user experience, and additional iPhone SKUs. Apple's iTunes/iTunes Store/Device ecosystem remains a significant source of competitive advantage."

While pessimistic about market-leader Nokia, RBC was positive about Research In Motion's BlackBerry range, estimated with a 2008 share of 18 percent: "We believe RIM will continue to possess sustainable advantages in its intuitive, powerful "Crackberry" messaging and data experiences, reliability and battery life, and its NOC/ software/ hardware ownership."

In recent weeks Asus has teamed up with Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom to start selling the Nuvifone M20, a Windows Mobile smartphone.

as been submitted to China's regulatory authorities for testing and is expected to go on sale next month

Acer plans to send its three latest smartphones to market in September, with two of the new handsets priced for the recession. The three smartphones will all use Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system and carry Acer's own user interface, which the company views as a cornerstone of its smartphone strategy.