IDC: Smartphone Shipments Rise 45%

RIM stumbles as Samsung helps propel the blistering smartphone market to still greater heights.

Why is BYOD so hot? For the answer, look no further than IDC's latest smartphone research.

Smartphones shipments rose 45.2 percent in the third quarter compared to the same year-ago period, says IDC. In total, mobile phone makers shipped in 179.7 million smartphones in 3Q12.

And the industry shows no signs of slowing down, says the research firm. According to Ramon Llamas, IDC Mobile Phone research manager, the reason is that smartphones are becoming an indispensable tool both at home and at work.

"At the heart of mobility is communication. Mobile phones and smartphones play a critical role in keeping people connected, regardless of location. In addition, their utility beyond communication – productivity, entertainment, and multimedia – continues to add to their value," says Llamas in a company statement.

While that spells good news for mobile phone manufacturers, not all companies are benefiting from this booming market.

IDC notes that Nokia has slipped from the Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker's Top 5 smartphone rankings for the first time since it launched in 2004. "The company's transition away from Symbian-powered smartphones to ones shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months," explains Kevin Restivo, an IDC senior research analyst.

Nokia's loss is Samsung's gain. The Korean electronics giant is the current leader of the worldwide smartphone market. The company's Android-powered handsets, particularly the Galaxy III, pushed Samsung past 31 percent market share in a single quarter (56.3 million units shipped). This is the first time a company has managed such a feat since late 2009, according to IDC.

Apple shipped 26.9 million units during the third quarter for a 15 percent share of the market. IDC notes that while the iPhone 5 was only available during the last week of the 3Q12, strong sales of 5 million iPhones in the first weekend helped boost shipment totals.

The news isn't as rosy for embattled BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM). Shipments totaled just 7.7 million units for 4.3 percent of the market. A year ago, RIM commanded 9.6 percent of the smartphone market with 11.8 million units.

While RIM has a strong global presence and an enviable install base -- 80 million active users -- a slow product pipeline could hamper the company's turnaround efforts. IDC warns that "without a new flagship model in time for the holiday season and BB10 models not expected until the first quarter of 2013, RIM's position as a top 5 smartphone vendor will be under tremendous pressure from other companies."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.




Tags: iPhone, Apple, smartphone, Samsung, RIM


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