Nokia Loses To RIM On Smartphone Sales

Max ‘Beast from the East’ Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope.

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The Finnish company drops to the sixth place in the smartphone chart

Nokia has lost fifth place in the smartphone wars, with similarly-troubled BlackBerry maker RIM taking its place.

According to a study by International Data Corporation (IDC), Samsung was leading on smartphone sales, with 56.3 million devices shipped in the third quarter. It was followed by Apple, with 26.9 million iPhones.

Even though RIM has not released a new smartphone in a while, it still managed to break into the top five, based on sales of 7.7 million devices and a market share of 4.3 percent.

Kansas City shuffle

Smartphone vendors shipped 179.7 million devices in third quarter of the year, compared to 123.7 million units in the same period last year. This shows a 45.3 percent market growth, beating most expectations.

In the first quarter of 2012, Samsung had replaced Nokia as the top mobile phone manufacturer. Before, the Finnish company held the leading position for 14 years in a row.

The South Korean electronics giant is the world’s top smartphone manufacturer by a long stretch, with 31.3 percent share of the market, much of which can be attributed to strong Galaxy S III sales. In comparison, Apple, the world’s richest tech company, has 15 percent of the market.

Meanwhile, Nokia’s feature phone sales dropped 22.2 percent, leaving it with 18.7 of the feature phone market, its traditional domain.

Chinese manufacturer ZTE maintained its position as the fourth biggest smartphone vendor in the world, thanks to continued international diversification efforts. The company designs low-cost Android-based devices, which are popular in certain markets.

Finally, HTC has almost disappeared from the radar, with four percent current market share, as opposed to last year’s 10.3 percent. The company hopes to rejuvenate its global fortunes this quarter with the introduction of the 8X and 8S models, powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.

“Nokia’s share losses have meant gains for competitors,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The company’s transition away from Symbian-powered smartphones to ones shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months.”

“Nokia is not the only smartphone vendor in transition,” added Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “Research In Motion, although still a market leader, expects to start shipping its first BB10 devices in 2013. Motorola, once the number 3 smartphone vendor worldwide, is redirecting itself under its parent company Google.”

“We’re not just building an update of Blackberry 7, we’re building a whole new mobile computing platform. Don’t underestimate the dynamic that this platform is going to create in the market,” BlackBerry boss Thorsten Heins told BBC on Friday.

“In the US we are going to regain our market share with Blackberry 10,” he added.

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