updated 08:45 am EDT, Fri April 30, 2010
RIM overtakes Sony Ericsson, Nokia shrinks
RIM has passed by Sony Ericsson to become the fourth largest phone manufacturer of any kind, according to new data by IDC. Although slight, the BlackBerry creator's record winter sales now estimated at close to 10.6 million were enough for it to edge past Sony Ericsson's own 10.5 million. The jump came as Sony Ericsson willingly sacrificed sales to make a partial switch to smartphones.
BlackBerry sales were given help by runaway success for the Curve 8500 series, whose low price and presence at nearly every major carrier RIM serves gave it a very large footprint where most other smartphones can only reach certain carriers or are more expensive.
Nokia has also suffered from the performances of not just RIM but also Apple. Despite its own estimates to the contrary, the company shrunk in market share from 38.4 percent a year ago to 36.6 percent in the early part of 2010, even with an increase to 107.8 million phones. While it sold more smartphones than a year ago, the increase in the area wasn't enough to offset faster growth at its rivals.
Samsung strengthened its second place with 64.3 million phones and a boost to 21.8 percent of the phone arena based on phones like its Corby line. Its fellow Korean manufacturer LG, however, fell very slightly to 9.2 percent share as selling 27.1 million phones wasn't enough to keep up with competitors.
IDC noted that the fast growth this quarter was likely to be an exception as it followed a year after one of the worst quarters in recent memory. The phone field is still expected to grow 11 percent this year, but results in the spring and later aren't likely to be as dramatic.
Apple still sits outside of the top five with 8.75 million iPhones, but winter 2010 represented the first significant post-holiday quarter where iPhone sales increased. The company is likely in sixth place, just outside the top five, as it overtook Motorola during the same quarter.