A fresh report from Gartner is good news for Apple, bad news for Nokia. iPhone sales keep climbing, even as the overall mobile phone market shrinks.

“Worldwide mobile phone sales totaled 269.1 million units in the first quarter of 2009,” says the report, “a 8.6 per cent decrease from the first quarter of 2008.”

Nokia is still number one by more than two to one over second-place Samsung, at 39% versus 14% market share. Among models dubbed smartphones by Gartnet, Nokia’s lead is even bigger: 41%. But Noke’s lead is off a few percentage points from a year ago.

The upcoming smartphone brands are BlackBerry and iPhone. Research in Motion’s share jumped from 13% last year to just shy of 20% this year. Apple’s iPhone is the runaway success, more than doubling its share of the market from 5.3% to 10.8% in the past year. Overall, Gartner says smartphone sales are increasing, but lower dumbphone sales are more than offsetting them.

Gartner’s analysis is kind of obvious: “Much of the smartphone growth during the first quarter of 2009 was driven by touchscreen products. Tighter integration with applications and services around music, mobile e-mail, and Internet browsing made the difference at the high end of the market.”

These trends bode well for the $199.99 (that’s if your $100 mail-in rebate shows up) Palm Pre touchscreen phone scheduled to go on sale from Sprint on Saturday, June 6th. The launch date seems timed to lock down buyers and buzz over the final weekend before Apple’s big developer conference begins the following Monday, possibly with the announcement of an upgraded iPhone.

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