Nokia, Samsung, LG Top Q1 Global Handset Market: Report

Nokia, Samsung and LG lead a growing global handset market that saw shipments of 303 million units in the first quarter, headed toward a potential 1.3 billion by year's end. Sony Ericsson and RIM tied for fourth position, followed by Apple and Motorola.

More good news on the global mobile handset market arrived May 5 from ABI Research, which reported shipments of 303 million handsets in the first quarter of 2010. The figure was up 19 percent year over year. Should shipments continue at this pace, the year is on target to reach shipments of 1.3 billion units.
Nokia again led the overall industry in market share, claiming 34 percent, followed by Samsung with a 21.2 percent share.
"New [Nokia] smartphones such as the N8 are helping the manufacturer to shore up its handset portfolio, as its loss of traction in the smartphone sector hit sales hard," stated the report. "In response, revamped efforts with Symbian 3 and 4 are intended to help Nokia regain momentum."
Samsung's results, more happily, represented a 40.2 percent year-on-year growth, following what ABI described as more deeply cultivated relationships with U.S. and European partners.
Third-position LG, with 8.9 percent of the market, saw shipments grow 20 percent year over year, despite suffering, ABI wrote, from "a weak smartphone portfolio in the North America market."
Sony Ericsson and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion each claimed a 3.5 percent share of the market, followed by Apple, with 2.9 percent and Motorola with a 2.8 percent share.
"Motorola is benefiting from its initial success with the Droid and is keen to back it up with new products such as the Quench, but the market is overtaking it," wrote ABI. "[First quarter] 2010 proved to be a strong quarter for Apple ... which is up 130 percent year over year: a remarkable feat, but Apple should diversify its lineup."
Apple is rumored to indeed have a refresh of its iPhone lineup planned for June, as it has in past years. And following the fiasco of an Apple engineer recently forgetting a device said to be an iPhone 4G prototype in a San Jose-area bar, the refresh seems increasingly likely.
Apple is also said to be at work on a CDMA-based version of the iPhone for use on the Verizon Wireless network-though such a device isn't expected to arrive, or even be confirmed, before early 2011.
Following Apple, in eighth position, was HTC, with 1.1 percent market share.
Driving handset sales, say analysts, is a move toward features originally associated with smartphones alone.
For example, software that consumers once purchased and downloaded themselves is increasingly coming preloaded on cell phones, iSuppli said in a May 5 report. The difference, it said, could result in an uptick to $7.7 billion for the market by 2014, compared with $3.3 billion in 2008.
"The smartphone is the dominant platform for such preloaded software, accounting for 68.4 percent of revenue in 2014, up from 48.6 percent in 2008," stated the iSuppli report. "However, preloaded software is found in all types of cell phones, including feature phones, entry-level phones and ultra low cost handsets."