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Apple iPhone Still Increasing RIM Pressure

EGHAM, U.K. ( TheStreet) -- iPhone sales were "stellar" during the third quarter, according to new figures from Gartner, which reported that Apple (AAPL - Get Report) sold 13.5 million of its iconic smartphones. The other part of the report: Research In Motion (RIMM) continues to face intense pressure from both the iPhone maker and Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android OS.

Gartner notes that Apple could have sold even more phones during the quarter were it not for supply constraints, although the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm still surpassed RIM to clinch fourth place in the global mobile phone market.

Google's Android operating system was another big winner. "This quarter saw Apple and Android drive record smartphone sales," noted Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. "Apple's share of the smartphone market surpassed RIM in North America to put it second behind Android while Android volumes grew rapidly, making it the number two operating system worldwide."

RIM's share of the global smartphone market slipped from 20.7% in the third quarter of 2009 to 14.8% in the same quarter this year. This was a stark contrast to Android, which went from 3.5% to 25.5% over the same period.

RIM also added flesh to the bones of its PlayBook tablet strategy on Wednesday, when the company's co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed that its forthcoming PlayBook will sell for less than $500.

Speaking in Seoul, South Korea, Balsillie said that the PlayBook will be available in North America during the first quarter of 2011, according Bloomberg. "The product will be very competitively priced," he added.

Apple's iPad pricing starts at $499.

RIM demoed the PlayBook at Adobe's (ADBE) Max show in L.A. last month, which helped push the company's shares up. Aimed at business users, the PlayBook comes with a 7-inch screen and can also link up with RIM's BlackBerry devices.

RIM's stock opened up $1.55 Wednesday, or 2.82%, to $56.51. Apple shares were slightly down 55 cents, or 0.19%, to $315.50.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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