Apple's iPhone 4S and other smartphones helped drive the worldwide smartphone market's notable growth, according to IDC.
demand for Apple's iPhone 4S and other next-generation devices helped the
worldwide smartphone market grow 54.7 percent year-over-year in the fourth
quarter of 2011, according to a new IDC report.
IDC's earlier estimate. For the entirety of 2011, smartphone shipments totaled
some 491.4 million units, up 61.3 percent from 304.7 million units in 2010.
Although the iPhone 4S and other high-end smartphones attracted the lion's
share of attention from the media and the blogosphere, manufacturers' midrange
offerings contributed mightily to those final numbers.
'hero' devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and Apple's iPhone 4S, garner
the bulk of the attention heaped on the device type," Kevin Restivo, a
senior research analyst with IDC, wrote in a Feb. 6 statement accompanying the
data. "But a growing number of sub-$250 device offerings, based on the
Android operating system, have allowed Google's hardware partners to grow
smartphone volumes and expand the market concurrently."
estimation, Apple topped the list of worldwide smartphone vendors with 23.5
percent of the overall market in the fourth quarter of 2011, a notable increase
from 15.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Trailing just behind it was
Samsung, with 22.8 percent for the quarter, likewise a significant increase
from its 9.4 percent during the same period in 2010.
Nokia came in
third, with 12.4 percent of the worldwide market. IDC noted that the company
passed the largest year-over-year decrease among top vendors, as it took its
homegrown Symbian operating system offline in favor of new devices running
Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Motion and HTC finished fourth and fifth on that list, respectively, with 8.2
percent and 6.5 percent of the market. Once a more dominant presence in
smartphones, RIM has seen its share decline in a number of markets, thanks to
intense competition from the likes of Apple's iOS and Google's Android; the
company hopes that its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system will reverse
faced a year-over-year decline in its market share, from 8.5 percent to 6.5
percent. The company has launched several high-profile devices over the past
several months, including the Rezound and Titan. "As has been HTC's
approach all year long, these device launches kept the company's product
portfolio well attuned to both operator and end-user tastes," read IDC's
Feb. 6 note. "Despite the many high-profile launches during the quarter,
however, the Taiwanese vendor still shipped lower volumes compared to the
popularity of smartphones seemingly on an irrevocable upswing among both
consumers and businesses, trust that the competition between all these
companies will only become fiercer in 2012.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.