Print 11 comment(s) - last by Tony Swash.. on May 2 at 2:01 PM

The smartphone war has become more of a two horse race with Android (Samsung) taking on iOS (Apple)

The Interactive Data Corp. (IDC), one of the top market research firms in the U.S., has just released its latest smartphone numbers and they offer few surprises.

The losers -- struggling Taiwanese Android phonemaker HTC Corp. (TPE:2498), languishing Symbian-cum-Windows Phone Finnish phonemaker Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V), and embattled Canadian BlackBerry producer Research in Motion ltd. (TSE:RIM) -- all plummeted in sales.

Of them, Nokia dropped the most, seeing the phase out of Symbian cost it dearly.  The IDC claims that Nokia's Q1 2012 sales were at about one-third of its Q1 2011 levels -- a shocking fall.  RIM's sales fell a little bit more than in half, while HTC saw its sales fall almost in half.

The winners also don't exactly surprise.  Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in Q1 2012 claimed 24.2 percent of smartphone sales, up nearly a third from its 18.3 percent market share in Q1 2011.  That's an impressive recovery for a company whose Q3 2011 sales had slid beneath 15 percent by IDC's estimates.

Chart: Top Five WW Smartphone Vendors, 1Q 2012, Five Quarter Market Share Changes (Units)Description: Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, May 1, 2012Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker provides smart phone and feature phone market data in 54 countries by vendor, device type, air interface, operating systems and platforms, and generation. Over 20 additional technical segmentations are provided. The data is provided four times a year and includes historical and forecast trend analysis. For more information, or to subscribe to the research, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 1-650-350-6423 or For more information about this tracker go to: IDC, Tracker, Mobile Phone, Mobile Phones, Mobile Phone Tracker, 1Q201 ...Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) clung to the top spot, holding off a surging Apple.  Like Reuters, the IDC believes Samsung outsold Apple in the last calendar quarter.  That leaves iSuppli in the vocal minority claiming Apple outsold Samsung for the quarter.

Unlike Apple and Nokia, Samsung does not publish quarterly figures on the number of smartphones it sold, so its exact smartphone sales are open to debate.

The IDC puts Samsung's Q1 2012 market share at 29.1 percent, approximately five percent head of Apple.  Clearly that isn't the kind of commanding lead Samsung would hope for, but it can hardly bemoan its fate as the world's top smartphone seller.  Nor can Apple bemoan is close second-place finish, not when it's pulling in over $10B USD in pure profit per quarter.

The report confirms Samsung and Nokia's published numbers for total phone sales (including feature phones).  Samsung is now leading Nokia by about 10 million units in total phone sales, and is on pace for its first 400 million unit year.  Both Samsung and Nokia saw slumps in feature phone sales as the market moves towards smartphone ubiquity.

Q1 2012

China's ZTE Corp. (SHE:000063) posted the biggest gain in total mobile sales aside from Samsung and Apple.  The rising star is looking to parlay its feature phone success into smartphone sales, with its expanding lineup of Android and Windows Phone handsets.  It perhaps is the sleeper to watch in an otherwise predictable 2012.

Source: IDC

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RE: I just don't understand...
By JasonMick on 5/1/2012 4:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
RIM lost focus, their first touch screen phone the Storm was a piece of junk and then they gave up.
That's an insult to trash. Having had the misfortune of owning the Storm as my first day-to-day bona fide "smartphone" I must wager there are some pieces landfill refuse that would function better as a smartphone than it.

Aside from the perpetual crashes, the non-working camera, and the fact that two phones ended up in a practically Buddhist never-ending loop of white screens of death which also corrupted whatever memory cards were installed (pulling the battery offered short solstice until you put it back in, at which point the cycle resumed) the Storm was a great phone. Just kidding no, I hated that phone and all its headaches like Lex Luthor hates Superman.
In stead of understanding their failures they just left it to others hopping that their idea would prevail. When you abandon your customers they will eventual abandon you!
I still think RIM makes decent phones (with the exception of the Storm), and their keyboards are second to none.

Unfortunately trailing badly in consumer apps -- particular HD games -- along with unimpressive processor/memory pairings have left RIM in a position where the only users who prioritize business over fun would want to buy its devices.

Maybe Apple can get away with only offering users a tiny 3.5-inch screen to squint at, but the screens in most of RIM's lineup are still simply too small to have appeal to the casual consumer vs. an Android or Windows Phone.

That said, London and the other BB10 prototypes look good. I think the piping video to the TV is pretty neat, although some of the features (like the predictive swipe typing) I could see creating more headaches than they solve.

BB10 looks a lot like ICS -- that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I just don't quite see how it will be enough to save RIM at this stage.

On the other hand, at least it appears finally ready to put out a better touch screen product, building on the modest success of the touchscreen bold and torch

RE: I just don't understand...
By Omega215D on 5/1/2012 4:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
I too had the Storm, tried Storm 2 then a Bold 9930. The Storm 2 and Bold were good phones but fell quite short elsewhere. I'm not into having a whole bunch of apps or games but RIM still didn't offer much.

Don't get me started on their lack of updating for current phones...

By retrospooty on 5/1/2012 4:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
"London and the other BB10 prototypes look good.......BB10 looks a lot like ICS -- that's not necessarily a bad thing, but I just don't quite see how it will be enough to save RIM at this stage."

Yup, that kind of RIM's problem now... 1st they will lose even more marketshare and customer mindset before its out. Then, when it comes out, it has to be a home-run. The OS itself looks great, but they absolutely have to make sure the ROM is relatively perfect. If there are any major snafu's RIM is toast. Now think about this question... What is the last thing that RIM did without any major snafu's.

RIM + new OS + new device + new device type + new focus... Sounds like a recipe for fail to me.

With that said, I hope they kick its a$$, becaue more viable competitors is a good thing for us all, and QNX's WebOS like multitasking is really cool.

RE: I just don't understand...
By The Raven on 5/1/2012 5:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
I hated that phone and all its headaches like Lex Luthor hates Superman.

Blackberry Storm...the Superman of phones.

Jason Mick...the Lex Luthor of journalism. ;-)

RE: I just don't understand...
By JasonMick on 5/1/2012 5:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
Jason Mick...the Lex Luthor of journalism. ;-)
Hey Luthor became president, so I'll take it... mwahaha. :D

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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