Samsung smartphones accounted for more than 40 percent of the Android phones that shipped during the first quarter of 2001, while no other device maker had more than a 10 percent share, according to Gartner. Apple, along with the whole market, felt the impact of Chinese buyers.
Samsung, as Apple and
Nokia are all too aware, is on a hot streak. During the first quarter of 2012,
Samsungs smartphones accounted for 40 percent of all Android-based phones sold
globally, while no other Android-supporting vendor achieved better than a 10
percent representation, according to a May 16 report from Gartner.
Overall, smartphone sales
rose 45 percent year-over-year, with 144.4 million units shipping during the
first quarter of 2012. Lagging feature phone sales, however, caused the overall
mobile phone market to decline by 2 percentits first decline since the second
quarter of 2009, according to the firm.
Samsung overtook Nokia for
the No. 1 spot, as IHS
iSuppli said in an early estimate in April
, shipping 86.6 million units
to Nokias 83.2 million. Apple followed the pair, with shipments of 33.1
million iPhones, and behind it came ZTE, on shipments of 17.4 million units,
and LG, with 14.7 million units.
BlackBerry maker Research
In Motion finished in seventh place, behind Huawei but ahead of Motorola and
Sony Mobile Communications, respectively.
phones accounted for 56.1 percent of all smartphone sales, Gartner analysts
believe that differentiation is becoming a challenge for manufacturers. Motorola
CEO Sanjay Jha,
among other executives, has spoken to this point,
saying Motorola plans to release fewer but more differentiated devices. Likewise,
a spokesperson for AT&T, at the launch of the HTC
, said a focus on design, a strong camera and the collaboration
with Beats Audio were ways HTC had looked to differentiate that device.
This is particularly true
for smartphones based on the Android OS, where a strong commoditization trend
is at work and most players are finding it hard to break the [mold], Anshul Gupta,
a Gartner principal research analyst, said in the report.
At the high end, hardware
features coupled with applications and services, are helping differentiation,
but this is restricted to major players with intellectual-property assets,
Gupta added. However, in the mid- to low-end segment, price is increasingly
becoming the sole differentiator. This will only worsen with the entry of new
players and the dominance of Chinese manufacturers, leading to increased
competition, low profitability and scattered market share.
Strong Apple iPhone
salesshipments increased by 96.2 percent year-over-yearcame with, thanks to China,
Apples No. 2 market behind the United States. China accounted for sales of 5
Additionally, Gartner added,
On top of the sales through official carriers channels, there was an increase
in transshipments from Hong Kong, where volume has been growing over the past
year, to reach a sell-in of more than 3 million units.
With China Mobile, the
worlds largest carrier, in talks with Apple to officially
offer the iPhone
, the importance of China to Apple, and the mobile
industry on the whole, is likely to intensify.
Again showing their
impact, China, and the Asia-Pacific region on the whole, were also contributors
to the quarters overall lackluster results. While Chinese
New Year generally helps to make the first quarter the strongest in Asia
(again, a boon for the world market, which usually experiences an aggressive
dip after the high of the fourth-quarter Western holidays), a lack of new phone
launches from leading manufacturers caused users in Asia to delay upgrades,
said Gartner, in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year.
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