The interesting thing about news like this is that most people aren’t likely to be surprised that Apple is the largest smartphone vendor. The hype of the iPhone has proven solid in sales for years now, but it is still amazing to me that the company that sold my first computer (Apple II+) has really hit its stride in the mobile market.
The race for first place is still close and Apple has not claimed the lead by a large amount. The lead is only maintained by .4% over Samsung for the fourth quarter of 2011. In their latest report, Strategy Analytics has determined that Samsung is the overall leader for 2011.
According to Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics:
“Global smartphone shipments grew 54 percent annually to reach a record 155.0 million units in Q4 2011. Apple overtook Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume with 24 percent market share. Apple’s global smartphone shipments surged 128 percent annually to 37.0 million units, as distribution of the iPhone family expanded across numerous countries, dozens of operators and multiple price points.”
Nokia joins the leaders for a solid third place for 4Q and for 2011, which is a change from 1st place in 2010. Other smartphone vendors are also beginning to share a smaller portion of the remaining pie at below 40%. In the current marketplace, the real competition is between Samsung and Apple.
Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, added:
“Nokia’s global smartphone market share halved from 33 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011. A lackluster touchscreen smartphone portfolio and a limited presence in the huge United States market caused Nokia’s shrinkage last year. Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft will be very much in focus during 2012, and the industry will be watching closely to see how swiftly the two companies can expand in the high-value 4G LTE market that is rapidly emerging across the United States, Japan and elsewhere.”
Nokia can’t be ruled out completely and other handsets are primed to compete with the popular iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II. As long as the companies can focus on development instead of patent suits the next several quarters should establish the upcoming trends.