Smartphone sales skyrocket
Good news for big names
Smartphones shipments leapt 30 per cent year on year during Q4 2009 to 53m units, well ahead of the 12 per cent growth seen by handsets as a whole.
According to market watcher Strategy Analytics, the top three vendors all shipped considerably more smartphones during the quarter - and the year as a whole - while their other competitors combined experienced the exact opposite.
Nokia, Research in Motion and Apple all achieved higher market shares in Q4 2009 than they did in Q4 2008. Nokia and RIM saw modest growth: from 37 per cent to 39.2 per cent for Nokia, and from 18.6 per cent to 20.2 per cent for RIM.
Apple's jumped from 10.8 per cent to 16.4 per cent on the back of an almost doubling in unit shipments: 4.4m to 8.7m. Nokia's shipments went from 15.1 smartphones to 20.8m, RIM's from 7.6m to 10.7m. Both RIM and Apple have some way to go to challenge Nokia's lead, but Apple isn't very far behind the BlackBerry maker.
Other vendors' combined unit shipments fell from 13.7m to 12.8m.
For 2009 as a whole, Nokia took 39 per cent of the world smartphone market, RIM 19.8 per cent, Apple 14.4 per cent and everyone else 26.7 per cent.
Missing from the data is Android's contribution, but most analysts forecast big things for the Google OS during 2010 as more vendors introduce devices based upon it.
“The smartphone market will become ultra competitive in 2010," predicted SA's Neil Mawston. "Samsung and LG have ambitious plans to grow volumes and expand their app stores, while emerging players like Dell and Huawei are strengthening their device portfolios and courting major operators.
"The smartphone wars will be good news for consumers,” he added. ®
Surely the only interesting thing is the breakdown by OS.
Why have nokia's increased?
Their dumb phones used to be good but they make the worst smartphones on the planet. I'd rather use WM 2 than a nokia smartphone.
You're ignoring the effect of Nokia's Ovi vector maps. Free maps and directions globally is quite an offering for the traveler. I think it's RIM and Apple that are going to suffer unless they do something similar.
Two of the current "big three" have one basic attribute that makes them appealing, it's sync. The ease of syncing data to a few basic applications is what makes user base expand. This leads me to believe Nokia is going to be losing ground unless it can find a point to get leverage from. The iPhone uses ActiveSync to connect to Exchange which makes it fairly easy for users to get their phone working with the company network. Blackberry has long had ties with business to provide a whole package, from phones to back end connections giving business a "one stop shop."
Where does that leave Nokia? They don't seem to have big corporate space ties and they don't have the iFaithful and individuals bringing in mass public appeal. What they have is a big brand name that gives people comfort. People who start with a high quality basic phone and come to know and trust the name. It is a name they will likely stick with when they decide to get their own smartphone. Unfortunately, Nokia has weaker high end phones so they need to improve their products as well as carve a niche if they don't want the high end to atrophy. That said, I'm not sure Ovi is it.
The rest of the pack have a whole lot of work to do just to get noticed. They need to be way ahead of the curve because being as good or even a little better isn't going to cut it against the heavy weights. I had hoped Palm would have done better but they seem too focused on syncing with iTunes and going bare knuckled against Apple. In the long run, phones will be a commodity and if you are just making phones... you're just making phones. If you're thinking you've seen this before, you did, but they were called PCs.
OS not so important?
Among those manufacturers who have been noted in the article as losing market share, yes, of course. There's varying flavours of Android, Windows Mobile with different proprietary window dressing, webOS... and I'd like to see the trends towards or away from Android/WM. The problem here is, everyone seems to have their own interfaces for these OSes and, to be meaningful, you'd have to break it down by UI as well as OS.
However, the three who have increased market share, well their OS is obvious. Nokia is some flavour of Symbian S60 (in Q4 2009 I'm pretty sure N900 sales weren't significant), Apple is varying versions of iPhone OS and RIM use BlackBerry OS.