Smartphone Market Overview

Marina Astapchik
IT Trends Research Specialist
July 27, 2011

The smartphone market develops very dynamically. It is no surprise that many analysts pay more and more attention to this area and invest a lot of time and resources into research and development of this topic. In our analysis we will use a study by IDC (International Data Corporation), a marketing research group headquartered in USA.

According to IDC, a total of 100.9 million phones was sold in the fourth quarter of 2010.This is more than about 87.2% to the number of Q4 2009. The IDC analysts publish a list of the top suppliers at the smartphone market. These are Nokia, Apple, Research in Motion, Samsung and HTC.
Let us have a look at every smartphone manufacturer starting with the biggest market share.

1) Nokia
The Finnish feature phone and smartphone manufacturer loses its market share. Although they sold more items in 2010 than in 2009, the market share fell from 39% to 33,1% and this is probably due to the fact that the competition at the smartphone market has become much more acute. To compete with the Apple’s iPhone and Android smartphones Nokia smartphones engages into a long term partnership with Microsoft and its operating system Windows Phone 7, while putting end to Symbian, which is to be supported for no more than another two years.

2) Apple
Thanks to their 86 percent growth, Apple could replace Research in Motion and in the 4th quarter of 2010 become second largest smartphone manufacturer. One of the strongest competitors to the iPhone OS is Android operating system by Google, which is used by a vast variety of smartphone manufacturers. In order not to lose its market share and gain more of it, Apple developed several strategies for market growth and market expansion. According to Bloomberg, Apple is reportedly working on new iPhones that will be cheaper than current iPhones. Thus, Apple wants to compete against cheaper devices with Google’s mobile operating system Android.

3) Research In Motion
As can be seen from the table, the Canadian BlackBerry maker Research in Motion the — inventor of the smartphone — did quite well in 2010. Despite steadily increasing sales figures they are gradually overtaken by Apple and in the 4th Quarter of 2010, Apple sold more iPhones than his rival BlackBerry.

4) Samsung and HTC
Samsung and HTC have brilliant results in 2010 in terms of growth rate. This can be explained by the fact that the two manufacturers use several promising mobile operating systems for their smartphones – Android and Windows Phone 7, Samsung has also bada — a third operating system in its portfolio. Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Desire S, which were shown at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, clearly indicate Samsung and HTC are not content with the current market situation and competition in the smartphone market will always be very severe. In 2011, Samsung plans to increase its market share to 40%. HTC is expected to double the production capacity of the factory in China. A new production facility in Taiwan is also planned.

A total of 302,6 million phones were sold in 2010 – that is 74,4% more than previous year. According to IDC, the growth can be explained by the boom of Android and the launch of Symbian 3 Windows Phone 7. The IDC experts predict that the smartphone manufacturers with come up more and more new services. The focus will be on mass market, which determines that low to middle end devices will dominate the market in the future.

As for the development of the smartphone market in general. According to the experts, more and more smartphones and similar devices will be sold in the years to come. Conventional feature cellphones are gradually becoming less popular and important for the market. Contemporary smartphones, which can be rather referred to as mini-computers, will have additional functionality and can be used as a navigation device (via GPS), an electronic wallet (via NFC), etc. The development of mobile applications — additional programs for smartphones — is a new and promising market; many app stores are developing in an amazingly fast pace and offer limitless possibilities to developers. According to a recent study by Twago, a platform for the global distribution of services in the area of development, design and management service, application developers feel high growth potential, which is closely connected to the rapid development of the entire Smartphone market.

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