updated 11:05 am EDT, Thu October 20, 2011
Nokia Q3 2011 basic phones up as Apple passes by
Nokia saw a bounce back in its summer results that still saw it lose its position as the top smartphone maker. It reduced its losses to $97.7 million based on a sudden rush of basic feature phones, which at 89.8 million were up eight percent from a year ago but a much larger 25 percent from just the spring. The company didn't directly explain the spike but saw its average phone price drop from $85 to $70 as the very lowest end phones offset smartphones.
Smartphone shipments were up over the spring at 16.8 million, but at just a 100,000-unit difference, it represented a 38 percent drop over just one year ago. Apple has now had its second consecutive season outselling Nokia and, even with a pre-refresh dip to 17.07 million iPhones, was still second place. Samsung is estimated to be on top for the first time at 20 million.
CEO Stephen Elop confirmed previous remarks and had Nokia launching its first Windows Phones, including the leaked Nokia 800, at Nokia World on October 26. They would ship to "select countries" before the end of the year, he said.
The Windows Phone switch is expected to be the biggest gamble ever for Nokia, which until this year has always used a mobile platform it controlled either directly or by proxy. Microsoft has only seen its partners' sales slide since the Windows Phone switch, but it's presuming that it will at least level off, if not start regrowing, Nokia's smartphone share after the switch. The launch and a full 2012 will help show whether Windows Phone has been unpopular due just to lack of exposure or due to a sincere dislike; the latter could drag down both companies.