updated 07:50 am EST, Fri January 27, 2012
IHS iSuppli and Strat Analytics show Apple shift
Separate IHS iSuppli and Strategy Analytics studies Friday have backed Apple's rapid return to the top of the smartphone space in the fall. Determining that Samsung had shipped 36 million smartphones, slightly higher than Samsung's preliminary estimates, IHS iSuppli put Apple's 37 million iPhones just on top. Although Samsung nearly quadrupled the amount of smartphones it shipped and moved more year-long, Apple's higher starting point meant it could just double its yearly shipments to stay competitive.
Nokia, in the meantime, did grow its quarterly smartphone run to 20 million, but its overall slower movement throughout 2011 left it in third place with 77 million mostly Symbian devices having traded hands. Sony Ericsson (now Sony) and Motorola were virtually flat quarter to quarter, and while they gained yearly, they were still expected to trail behind companies like RIM, which has yet to provide results that researchers could use for the full fall quarter.
The Strategy Analytics data compared overall cellphone shipments and highlighted how quickly Apple had become a major influence in the total market. Apple more than doubled its portion to 8.3 percent this fall. Nokia and Samsung were still well out in front at 25.5 and 21.3 points each, their respective declining and near-flat performances had let Apple close the gap. Positions were similar for the whole year and gave the iPhone exactly six percent in this estimate.
In either case, the iPhone 4S was distinctly credited with pushing Apple over the top. Having three whole generations of iPhone on the market, one of which was free on contract, was also helping. Samsung was helped by the Galaxy S II year-round as well as its very wide smartphone mix, although most of these devices were past the heat of their launch periods.
Eyes are currently on Nokia, which saw positive uptake of Windows Phones but is in a race to get as many existing owners as it can on its new OS choice before they jump to an iPhone or to Android. More Windows Phone hardware and a wider reach are poised to at least partly help Nokia in 2012.