updated 02:42 am EDT, Thu May 17, 2012
Now third-largest mobile maker
Data from research analysis firm Gartner has revealed that Apple has managed to capture almost eight percent of the global market for mobile phones of all types -- both feature phones and smartphones combined, The Mac Observer reports. This makes the company the third-largest mobile phone maker in the world, behind Nokia and Samsung. Apple has doubled its share of the global cell phone market in only a year.
Smartphones continued growing even as the overall market for handsets declined slightly year-over-year, the first time since 2009 that this has happened. The cause is the transition from feature phones to smartphones, as smartphone sales grew nearly 45 percent to 144.4 million units compared to a year ago.
Apple's success is even more remarkable when remembering that the company only sells three models, two of which haven't changed (other than OS updates) for years. This compares to literally hundreds of current models offered by Android vendors, many of which are hard to differentiate from each other. Apple is also the only major player to sell smartphones only; all the others still offer feature phones.
Anshul Gupta, the principle research analyst at Gartner, said that in the midrange, price has become the only real differentiator among Android phones, which could mean continued low or no profits for most smartphone makers. Apple currently gets about 80 percent of the profit to be made in handsets, with Samsung taking most of the remaining 20 percent.
Charts put together by TMO show that while Android growth overall has been impressive, Apple has also capitalized over the past year on the collapse of Symbian as well as the decline of Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform. Apple sold more than 35 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 96.2 percent year-over-year. The growth rate was more than double the smartphone market as a whole.
The overall Android platform now has 56 percent of the smartphone market, up from 36 percent in the first quarter of last year. Apple's iOS has grown to 23 percent from 17 percent a year ago, and the Bada platform managed one percent of growth since Q1 2011. All other platforms lost share over the past year. [ charts via The Mac Observer]