Apple the clear winner of smartphone wars

Apple was the clear winner in last year’s smartphone market, gaining more market share than any other handset vendor.
The company shipped 25.1 million smartphones in 2009 compared with just 4.4 million units in 2008, increasing market share 5.3 percentage points to 14.4%.
In contrast, rival RIM’s market share took a battering, falling from 19.8% with 34.5 million smartphone shipments, to just 15.5%, according to Strategy Analytics. Dominant smartphone vendor Nokia shipped 67.8 million shipped units to fall one point to 39%.
Strategy Analytics puts “other” vendors’ smartphone shipments at 46.4 million in 2009, down from 53.million over the previous year.
Global smartphone shipments stood at a record high of 173.8 million units, up 15% on 2008, according to the research firm.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Nokia shipped a record 20.8 million smartphones.
But the growth came as Nokia cut its average smartphone price to €186 per unit in Q409, from €190   in Q309, Reuters reported.
In Q409, RIM also shipped a record 10.7 million smartphones, just ahead of Apple’s 8.7 million shipped iPhones.
Investment bank Credit Suisse notes Nokia’s smartphones dominance, but questions whether this is sustainable.
“Nokia’s smartphone market share stabilized in Q409 at 40% (flat quarter on quarter) with volumes of 20.8 million (+27% quarter on quarter), driven by a number of new touchscreen models (N97 mini, 5530, X6), which started shipping in the quarter,” Credit Suisse states.
“However, we would question the sustainability of its strength in the smartphone business given…we believe that Nokia’s smartphone portfolio remains weak compared to competition (Apple, RIM and a number of Android devices).
“Apple’s iPhone could become non-exclusive in certain western European markets (similar to the UK) through 2010, where Nokia has about a 48% smartphone share.”