Android Smartphones Pressured Nokia, RIM in Q2, IDC Says

Nokia and BlackBerry-maker RIM continued to lead the smartphone market in the second quarter, but it was Android-running phones from HTC, Samsung and others that aggressively drove up sales figures, IDC reports.

IDC has seconded recent second-quarter smartphone sales estimates that device shipment numbers have been soaring upward, with particular momentum coming from handsets running Google's Android mobile operating system.

The overall smartphone market grew 50 percent year over year, IDC reported Aug. 5, following shipments of 63 million smartphone units during the quarter. During the first half of 2010, this put unit totals at 118.3 million-up 54 percent from the 76.8 million that shipped during the first half of 2009.

Among the vendors offering Android-running smartphones, growth rates jumped higher still, with four of the top 10 vendors-each predominantly selling Android phones-posting year-over-year growth rates in excess of 100 percent.

"Emerging smartphone suppliers, such as HTC, that are allied closely with Google gained share at the expense of the historic top smartphone players last quarter," IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in a statement. "This is largely a result of greater consumer interest in smartphones in general and Android devices in particular."

Fourth-ranking HTC, for example-which makes the Droid Incredible, Evo 4G, Hero and Droid Eris-saw year-over-year growth of 128.6 percent. While fifth-ranking Samsung, which recently introduced a line of Android-running Galaxy S phones, including Sprint's second 4G-enabled phone, the soon-to-launch Epic 4G, grew 172.7 percent year over year.

The clear market dominators, however, continued to be Nokia, which shipped 24 million handsets during the quarter for 38.1 percent market share, and BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, which shipped 11.2 million handsets for 17.8 percent market share. Both companies, however, will need to pursue new strategies, as the Android-selling vendors come up quickly through the ranks.

"Nokia's progress year over year did not keep up with the overall growth of the smartphone market," stated the IDC report, citing declining ASPs (average selling prices) for Nokia's high-end smartphones. IDC said it expects this scenario to potentially change with the launch of the N8 and the MeeGo operating system, which together could help Nokia to "create and capture value within the high end of the market," while maintaining its presence in the entry-level and midrange segments.

No. 2 player RIM shipped 11.2 million handsets during the quarter, for its first time breaking the 11 million mark. IDC noted that while RIM held its position for the seventh straight quarter, much of its recent success comes from international markets, as it has more recently struggled in North America, where it lost share for the fifth straight quarter.

On Aug. 3, RIM introduced the BlackBerry Torch, its first handset to run the BlackBerry 6 OS and its first to feature both a multitouch display and a slide-out keypad. With the Torch, wrote IDC, RIM hopes to "regain [share lost] to Android partners and Apple in quarters to come."

Apple shipped 8.4 million units and claimed 13.3 percent market share during the quarter, IDC said; "However, its global share and shipment growth both dipped year over year." This may change in the third quarter, when Apple begins shipping the iPhone 4 to an additional 17 countries.

HTC shipped 4.8 million units during the quarter, and while its considerable annual growth has put pressure on the supply chain, wrote IDC, "the company believes it is well positioned to meet demand during the second half of the year."

Finally, rounding out the top five, Samsung shipped 3 million handsets, for 4.8 percent of the market, again outselling Motorola for the position. According to IDC, Samsung shipped a record number of smartphones during the quarter and posted its highest smartphone growth rate since the third quarter of 2008.

"The worldwide smartphone market will continue this explosive growth in the second half of 2010, setting up a critical starting point for 2011," IDC analyst Ramon Llamas predicted. Not only will additional models launch, Llamas said, but Symbian 3 is poised for a refresh, BlackBerry 6 is emerging and Windows Phone 7 is said to offer something brand new.

"All of these are expected to launch in the second half of 2010," Llamas said, "and their reception among end users will indicate their future in this fast-growing segment of the market for 2011 and beyond."