According to research firm, Arc Chart, RIM is the only smartphone specialist to figure in the overall mobile phone top five.
RIM was also in the same position towards the end of last year, largely at the expense of Motorola. In Q210, it did even better, overtaking Sony Ericsson by the smallest whisker to take fourth place behind the big three, Nokia, Samsung and LG.
But it will be tough for either RIM or SEMC to maintain their current shares of around 3.6% each. The gap between the top three and the rest of the pack is widening, while several vendors lurk just below the fifth position, and some of these have aggressive growth plans for the second half of this year; Motorola itself, HTC, Apple, Huawei and ZTE, reported Rethink Wireless.
In share terms, Nokia maintained its comfortable lead of 36.1%, but this was below its year-ago figure of 37.8% (and Nokia’s own calculations put it lower than that, because the giant includes grey market and unauthorized handsets, unlike most analysts or rivals). Samsung grew its share from 19.1% a year earlier to 20.7% while LG was down slightly, from 10.9% to 10%. SEMC was down sharply from 5.1% to 3.6% while RIM was up from 2.9%.
These small but significant changes were driven by varying growth rates for the major players. Sony Ericsson was the only one to suffer year on year decline in unit shipment terms during the quarter, falling by 20% (on top of a 41% decline for full year 2009).
The highest year on year growth was RIM’s, at 40% in Q210, followed by Samsung on 22%. Nokia was more modest on 7.7%, but that reversed a 15% decline a year earlier, while LG grew just 2.7%, a disappointment after it managed 7.6% in the tougher Q2 a year before.
The rising number of credible handset suppliers is indicated by the growth of shipments by ‘others’, which were up by 21%, whereas in Q209, these vendors had seen their sales drop by 8% as power was concentrated in the hands of the giants. Apple’s market share rose from 2% to almost 3% in the quarter but its sales of 8.5m were dwarfed by Nokia’s 111.1 million, Samsung’s 63.8 million, LG’s 30.6 million, RIM’s 11.2 million and SEMC’s 11 million.