Gartner: RIM, Android See Boosts in Q1
RIM also got a special mention during Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)’s annual results presentation on Tuesday, when executives commented that there is good traction for BlackBerry devices in emerging markets. In the first quarter of 2010, RIM was able to increase its total mobile phone sales by 45.9 percent to 10.6 million units.
According to latest figures from Gartner Inc. , total mobile phone sales to end-users increased 17 percent year-on-year to 314.7 million units in the first quarter of 2010, a much healthier situation than a year ago, when mobile phone sales declined by 8.6 percent. Smartphones remain the standout category, with sales of the higher-end devices increasing by a massive 48.7 percent to 54.3 million units compared to the first quarter of 2009. Smartphones accounted for 17.3 percent of all mobile handset sales in the first quarter of 2010, up from 13.6 percent in the same period in 2009.
"In the first quarter of 2010, smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006," says Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. "This quarter saw RIM, a pure smartphone player, make its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and saw Apple increase its market share by 1.2 percentage points."
Among the OS providers, Android’s fortunes have been improving most noticeably in North America, where sales of Android-based handsets increased by 707 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2010, according to Gartner. Android is now the fourth-largest mobile operating system globally, after Symbian Ltd. , RIM, and the iPhone OS -- and ahead of Microsoft Windows -- and was shipped on 5.214 million units in the first quarter of 2010. The Android OS now has a 9.6 percent share of the global market, compared with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)’s 15.4 percent, but this is likely to increase fairly rapidly as handset manufacturers bring more Android-based phones onto the market.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) remains the No. 1 handset manufacturer in terms of end-user sales, shipping 110.1 million units in its first quarter and accounting for a 35 percent market share. RIM’s market share was 3.4 percent, and the company surged into fourth place behind Samsung Corp. and LG Telecom , and ahead of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications . Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), meanwhile, slipped back to sixth position with sales of 9.6 million and a 3 percent market share.
Apple followed closely behind with sales of 8.3 million -- not bad for a company with just one phone model. Its market share was 2.7 percent. Closely behind Apple comes China’s ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) with sales of 5.3 million and a 1.7 percent market share. ZTE’s domestic rival, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , was in tenth place with sales of 3.9 million and a 1.3 percent market share, while Hong Kong player G-Five also leapt into the top ten with a 1.4 percent market share.
Although Nokia remains the No.1 player, its market share dropped by 1.2 percentage points in its first quarter. As Gartner's Milanesi notes, the Finnish manufacturer still lacks a real “iPhone contender” to drive sales in the high-price segment, although its mid-tier products are selling well.
"MeeGo-based devices and other high-end products will not rejuvenate Nokia's premium portfolio until the end of the third quarter of 2010 at the earliest, and Nokia will continue to feel pressure on its average selling price from vendors such as High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), RIM, and Samsung," says Milanesi.
— Anne Morris, Special to Light Reading