While Apple trailed Nokia in 2010 smartphone volume, Apple dominated the market in revenue, and took 29% share of the market value. The top three players — Apple, Nokia and RIM — generated 64% of the revenue in the smartphone market, according to a new study by Strategy Analytics (http://www.strategyanalytics.com).

Apple had just 16% of smartphone market volume in 2010, but, in terms of revenue Apple claimed 29% share, says the research group. Nokia followed with 20%, and RIM with 15% value share. Samsung ended up being the champion of Google Android smartphones in 2010, taking 9% of smartphone market revenue and surpassing HTC.

“While smartphones represented just over 22% of the handset market in terms of volume last year, they accounted for more than 50 percent of the market in terms of revenue,” says Tom Kang, drector of the Wireless Smartphone Strategies service. “This illustrates how important the smartphone market has become for capturing mobile handset value. Unlike feature phones, smartphone average sales prices have held steady in the $300 range during 2010, bolstered by the introduction of new technology, such as the Retina LCD and AMOLED displays, as well as high speed 1 GHz processors.”

“Other smartphone vendors have grown using the Android platform,” notes Martin Bradley, associate director at Strategy Analytics. “The dominance of the top three — Apple, Nokia and RIM — actually weakened in the fourth quarter, as the combined value share of these three players fell from 72% to 61% The Android-based handset market, which will grow considerably in 2011, is still dominated by vendors like Samsung and HTC. However, Chinese vendors, like ZTE and Huawei, also have a presence, particularly in lower price tiers.”