Apple is catching up to Research In Motion in a smartphone market that saw 54.7 million units ship in the first quarter of 2010, up 56.7 percent from first-quarter 2009. While RIM shipped 10.6 million BlackBerry smartphones in the first quarter, Apple sold 8.8 million iPhones with only AT&T as its carrier. This growth may continue and become even more impressive when Apple launches iPhone OS 4 in June and with the eventual launch of the iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network. Meanwhile, HTC and Motorola both sported good market-share gains thanks to sales of Google Android phones.
Apple is catching up to Research In Motion in a smartphone market that saw
54.7 million units ship in the first quarter of 2010, up 56.7 percent from the
first quarter of 2009.
Nokia commanded the lion's share of the burgeoning market,
shipping 21.5 million units for the quarter to take 39.3 percent of the
worldwide market, according to research company IDC.
RIM shipped 10.6 million BlackBerry smartphones in the first quarter, giving
it 19.5 percent of the burgeoning market for handheld devices with full HTML
With new smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9650 and the Pearl 3G,
coming out in May,
coupled with a new operating system, RIM expects to reach 100 million users.
Apple is hot on RIM's heels. The company sold 8.8 million iPhones, racking
up 16.1 percent of the market. That compares with just 10.6 percent in the
first quarter of 2009 and modest unit shipments of 3.8 million.
That's a growth of about 136 percent, achieved by selling solely through
AT&T. IDC analyst Ramon Llamas
attributed the growth to the effect of more iPhones arriving outside the United
States, including in China.
This growth may continue when Apple launches iPhone OS 4 in June and with the
eventual launch of the iPhone on Verizon Wireless' network.
iPhone OS 4 will support multitasking
and folders and
will feature iAd,
a mobile advertising platform geared to help Apple,
publishers and developers make more money from their work.
HTC and Motorola placed a distant fourth
and fifth on the smartphone list, but both are seeing strong growth thanks to
their barrage of smartphones based on Google's Android platform.
HTC shipped 2.6 million mobile devices
for 4.8 percent of the market, compared with 1.5 million units shipped in
first-quarter 2009, or a 4.3 percent market share. That's a 73 percent growth
driven largely by the Android-based Hero, Droid Eris and MyTouch 3G smartphones.
Motorola fared even better, selling 2.3 million devices to grab 4.2 percent
of the market, up from just 1.2 million units shipped in first-quarter 2009
when it notched a 3.4 percent share. IDC
attributes this 92 percent growth to launches of such Android devices as the Motorola Droid, Cliq
Motorola has said it hopes to launch 20 different models and ship 12 million
to 14 million Android smartphones in 2010.
Llamas noted that the overall smartphone market growth signals that the
segment is revving for high growth for the remainder of the year, particularly
as we hurtle toward the holiday season.
"2010 looks to be another year of large-scale consumer adoption of
converged mobile devices," Llamas said.
"Consumers will gravitate to smartphones not
just because the devices themselves look 'cool' and 'slick,' but because the
overall experience aligns with their individual tastes and demands."
Llamas didn't mention the main reason consumers are snapping up smartphones,
which is the applications they can get for free or for small fees.
ABI Research noted that application
downloads from Apple's App Store (almost 200,00 applications) and the Android
Market (50,000 applications) are booming. While consumers downloaded 2.4
billion applications from such stores in 2009, ABI
expects that the download rate will peak at just below 7 billion by 2013.
ABI analyst Mark Beccue said application
store downloads will decrease by 2015
as more mobile Websites host applications
rather than users having to buy dedicated applications themselves.