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Apple, Rim surpass Motorola handset sales

Sony Ericsson next

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We've seen the success Apple and Research in Motion (Rim) have had in the smartphone market, but how have they fared in the broader handset arena? Not too shabbily, figures from market watcher iSuppli suggest.

It will surprise no one that Nokia and Samsung are the two leading players with Q1 2010 market shares of, respectively, 37.4 per cent and 22.3 per cent. Nokia experienced 15.7 per cent unit shipments growth year on year during the quarter, while Samsung's shipments jumped up 40.4 per cent.

Third-placed LG was propelled by a 19.9 per cent year-on-year increase in sale to take 9.4 per cent of the market. It was followed in fourth place by the declining Sony Ericsson - shipments down 27.6 per cent between Q1 2010 and Q1 2009.

SE took 3.6 per cent of the market. So did Rim, buoyed by a 34.6 per cent rise in shipments - growth as nothing to Apple's 130.7 per cent sales leap, which gave the iPhone maker three per cent of the market: the same recorded by China's ZTE and Motorola, though its unit shipments were slightly ahead of these two.

Time was when Motorola and Sony Ericsson would have been up there where Samsung and LG are today. Both are turning to Google's Android OS to reverse their declining fortunes in the hope that it will send customers their way.

Maybe it will, but in the short term, it's hard to see Sony Ericsson staying in front of Rim and quite possibly falling behind Apple too once the year is up. Apple's iPhone sales traditionally dip in Q2 as buyers await what has become a regular gig: the June announcement of the new version. That slump will be countered by big sales in Q3.

iSuppli notes that Rim and Apple were the only smartphone brands among the top ten to achieve sequential quarterly growth. Q1 usually sees suppliers' sales down - following Q4's Christmas sales surge, how could it be otherwise? But Rim managed it, with sequential growth of 3.6 per cent. Apple's increase was a more modest 0.2 per cent.

In total, some 288.1m phones were shipped in Q1, up 13.8 per cent from Q1 2009's 253.2m, but down 13.9 per cent from Q4 2009's 334.6m shipments. ®

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