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Apple, Rim edge up world phone seller list

1.4 billion handsets shipped in 2010

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Research in Motion (Rim) and Apple both may be, respectively, 2010's second and third most successful smartphone makers, but in the broader handset business they rate merely fourth and fifth.

Not so long ago, neither would have appeared outside the generic Others category, so their 2010 placing, in numbers released this morning by market watcher Strategy Analytics, shows how big a part of the overall phone market the smartphone segment has become.

And how far it has to go.

So, according to SA some 292.9m smartphones shipped in 2010 - a fraction of the record 1.4 billion handsets that shipped in the same period.

It'll come as no surprise that Nokia topped the chart, selling 453m phones - 33.3 per cent of the total, and fiver per cent more than it shipped in 2009. The market as a whole was up 16.3 per cent in unit shipments.

Samsung and LG, neither of which made it out of Others in the smartphone rankings, came second and third in the broader market, shifting 280.2m and 116.7m units, respectively, resulting in market shares of 20.6 per cent and 8.6 per cent and year-on-year unit shipment growth of 23.4 per cent in Samsung's case, but a one percentage point decline for LG.

Rim and Apple, as we saw yesterday, both recorded year-on-year gains: unit shipments up 41.5 per cent and 89.2 per cent, respectively, to 48.87m and 47.5m units. Rim accounted for 3.6 per cent of the phone market in 2010, Apple for 3.5 per cent.

Next come Sony Ericsson and Motorola, both of which placed Google's Android OS at the heart of recovery plans. It doesn't appear to have helped much, at least in the broader phone market.

SE saw unit sales slump 13.4 per cent year on year to 43.1m units, putting it just behind Apple with a 3.2 per cent share of the market. Will its upcoming PlayStation Network-connected Xperia Play help it close the gap? Without explicit PlayStation branding on the handset, it seems unlikely.

Motorola's shipments fell 48.1 per cent to 37.2m phones - enough for a 2.7 per cent share. Its key market is the US, but there it's being pummelled mightily by Apple. The blows will rain down harder when the CDMA-equipped Verizon iPhone 4 goes on sale - Motorola has done well selling Android phones Verizon. ®

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