While Apple and Research In Motion combined sold between 5 and 10 percent of the mobile phones shipped worldwide this year, their shares of the mobile industry's profits are considerably higher, reports Silicon Alley Insider, citing a chart from Deutsche Bank.
For 2009, Deutsche Bank analysts attribute 31 percent of the industry's operating margin dollars to Apple and 35 percent to RIM, showing handset sales are not the only success indicator.
Similarly, an April report from AdMob that measured operating system market share by mobile Web and application use attributed 43 percent of market share to the iPhone, followed by Symbian with 36 percent and RIM with 9 percent.
Gartner, which measured handset sales to report smartphone market share by operating system, allotted a whopping 52 percent of the market share to Symbian, with second-place RIM garnering 17 percent, 12 percent going to Windows and iPhone, down in fourth place, owning only 8 percent of the market share.
"The data indicate that the media-rich, Internet-centric, messaging-friendly designs of smartphones are enabling vendors, like Apple and RIM, to generate above-average growth in volume and profit," Neil Mawston, a director with Strategy Analytics in England, told eWEEK.
"Consumers, businesses and operators in developed countries are currently willing to pay above-average prices for compelling end-to-end offerings with cool hardware design, user-friendly software and compelling services."
Mawston added, "The question now is whether those outsized profit margins for Apple and RIM are sustainable in the future because more brands will flood the smartphone ecosystem over the coming months, and competition will intensify."
For example, Nokia is now shipping the N97 mobile computer, the success of which will be tied both to its sleek form factor and its hoped-for ability to steer users toward the Ovi Store, Nokia's version of the Apple App Store.
"Like the Apple iPhone, the influence of the N97 will be felt beyond hardware and into services," Mawston told eWEEK, in response to the N97's launch.
The AdMob report also showed Google's Android to be a dark horse. Android handsets accounted for less than 1 percent of smartphones sold in 2008, but accounted for 3 percent of all mobile Web usage.