updated 07:55 am EDT, Fri July 29, 2011
Analysts put Apple at top in smartphone field
Apple achieved a goal it has likely been aiming to reach for four years on Friday as Strategy Analytics confirmed Apple was now the largest smartphone maker in the world. Its 20.34 million iPhones in spring gave it the lead with 18.5 percent of the market. Samsung, which confirmed just Friday that it shipped 19.2 million smartphones, grew rapidly but was denied the lead at 17.5 percent share.
Nokia encountered a fall from grace twice. While it was already known that Apple would outpace Nokia in raw smartphone shipments, its 16.7 million smartphones saw it drop to third place below Samsung, at 15.2 percent. The collapse was the largest in the smartphone industry as it had fallen by more than half from 38.1 percent just a year earlier.
Samsung had the potential to take the lead from Apple in the near future. The Korean firm's success with the Galaxy S II led it to grow 520 percent year-over-year, more than three times faster than Apple's 142 percent.
Additional IDC data also had Apple moving up in the overall phone business. It overtook ZTE to become the fourth-largest phone maker. LG's decline to 24.8 million phones, triggered mostly by feature phones, put it within striking distance of Apple. Nokia still held its lead in this are, but it was still down by a fifth to 88.5 million where next-closest Samsung was up to 70.2 million.
Collectively, Android will still be larger than the iPhone among smartphones, although it will now lean more on Samsung and likely HTC than on Motorola and others growing more slowly. Nokia is currently in limbo as it's waiting on Windows Phone but is still ramping down its Symbian smartphones. The results nonetheless make the iPhone the most popular single model in the world.