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Apple May Pass Nokia As Smartphone Leader this Year, IDC

IDC is reporting that the global smartphone shipments grew to 79.7% in Q1 of 2011. Apple moved into second place, pushing ahead of ailing Research in Motion and closing the distance on Nokia. Manufacturers shipped 99.6 million smartphones in the quarter, up from 55.4 million units a year earlier.

From a growth perspective, the quarter belonged to Samsung and HTC, which posted 350% and 230% year-over-year growth, respectively. HTC and Samsung growth, comes in part from Google’s Android mobile OS. “The rise of Android as a prominent mobile operating system has allowed several suppliers to gain share quickly,” Kevin Restivo of IDC said. Year over year, Samsung market share rose from 4.3% to 10.8%, while HTC pushed up from 4.9% to 8.9%. But shipment gains are more impressive, with Samsung more than quadrupling and HTC more than tripling smartphone shipments.

Meanwhile Nokia and RIM lost share, 38.8% to 24.2% and 19.1% to 14%, respectively. Nokia smartphone shipments rose by nearly 3 million, while RIM’s were 3.3 million higher. By comparison, Apple shipments rose 114.4%, with market share up 3 points to 18.7% shipments up 10 million to 18.7 million.

Ramon Llamas, IDC senior research analyst, says in a statement: “Conditions in the smartphone market are creating a perfect storm for sustained smartphone growth.”

  • First, vendors are increasingly emphasizing smartphones as the key to their own growth.
  • Second, selection has proliferated from mostly high-end devices to include more mid-range and entry-level offerings.
  • Third, pricing has become increasingly competitive, with even high-end devices available at low price points.
  • Finally, users continue to seek greater utility from their mobile phone beyond voice, and smartphones have been the ideal solution.
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