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Gartner: Gray-Market Phones Get Better

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 12, 2009

Cell phones made by no-name manufacturers in China are “no longer just ultra-low cost models,” according to a Nov. 12 report from consultant Gartner. “Gartner has torn down several gray-market products that showcase enhanced-phone features.” Distributors report that gray-market shops are moving to incorporate 3G technology and high-resolution cameras into their devices, threatening businesses of everyone from Nokia to Apple.

Demand for gray-market phones is rising so rapidly, it’s contributed to a slight uptick in third-quarter handset sales, according to Gartner. In that period, the world’s manufacturers had shipped a total of 308.9 million units, up 0.1% year over year, the consultant reports. Recently, researcher iSuppli reported that gray-market handset sales are up nearly 44% this year over 2008, with shipments reaching 145 million units. The burgeoning market has contributed to the Apple iPhone’s flop in China, where many consumers opt for gray-market iPhone clones, instead.

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Reader Comments


November 13, 2009 05:40 AM

When you say "gray-market", do you mean "grey market"? Why is there an a, and why is there a hyphen?

How can you make the same spelling mistake so many times in one article?


November 14, 2009 06:40 PM

gray can be spelled both ways. the hyphen makes sense to me - it's to show that the author is not talking about a "market phone" that is gray in color.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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