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Apple continues slim lead over RIM in smartphone market


According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics (, global smartphone shipments grew an impressive 75% annually to reach a record 94 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010. Apple maintained its small lead over RIM, while Nokia continued to underperform.

“Global smartphone shipments grew a healthy 75% annually to reach a record 94 million units in Q4 2010,” says Tom Kang, director at Strategy Analytics. “Apple was once again the fastest growing brand among the big three smartphone players, as it almost doubled volumes on an annual basis, maintained a small quarterly lead over RIM, and captured 17% global marketshare.”

Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics, adds: “Global smartphone shipments reached 293 million units during full-year 2010, almost doubling from 151 million in 2008 and 175 million in 2009, highlighting the rapid growth of this high-value segment. The big three hardware vendors of Nokia, RIM and Apple were less dominant in 2010, as their combined global marketshare slipped from 73% in 2009 to 67% in 2010, mostly due to a spike in Android vendors such as Samsung, Motorola, HTC and Sony Ericsson. Indeed, Android was the star platform of 2010, as it gave iOS4 some much-needed competition and outgrew all major rival operating systems worldwide.”

Other findings from the research include:

° Nokia became the first ever vendor to ship 100 million smartphones in a single year. However, this impressive achievement could not hide the downturn in its quarterly marketshare, which has slipped from 39% worldwide in Q4 2009 to just 30% in Q4 2010 due to increased competition from Apple and several Android vendors;

° RIM continues to be hampered by a limited presence in the high-growth touchscreen category and consequently its global smartphone marketshare has edged down from 20 percent to 16 percent during the past 12 months.

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