Component shortages will continue to blight the mobile device industry until the second half of 2011 at the earliest, Gartner predicts.
The research firm notes that camera modules, touch screen controllers and AMOLED displays were among the key components in short supply during 4Q10, and said supply issues will remain a long-term issue for mobile phone manufacturers due to demand from other sectors.
“Other fast-growing categories of connected consumer devices, such as media tablets, are competing for the same components,” research vice president Carolina Milanesi notes.
However, handset vendors appear to be managing the situation well, with global shipments up 32% year-on-year to 1.6 billion units in 4Q10, new figures from the firm show.
Smartphone shipments accounted for 19% of the total during the quarter – up 72% on 4Q09 -, which was enough to boost Apple and RIM into Gartner’s list of top-five vendors by shipments.
Their growth came at the expense of Sony Ericsson and Motorola, which garnered shares of 2.6% and 2.4% respectively, leaving Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei breathing down their necks, with respective shares of 1.8% and 1.5% in 4Q.
While Nokia stays at the top of the list with shipments of 461 million units in 4Q09, Gartner notes the vendor’s market share fell from 36.4% in 4Q09 to 28.9% in the recent quarter.
The Finnish vendor was hit by growing shipments of white label handsets that put its low- and mid-tier devices under pressure, adding to its well-publicized woes in high-end smartphones.
White label shipments hit 115 million during 4Q10, taking the total for 2010 to 360 million units.
Milanesi states the rise of the white labels is due to “an increase in addressable market for mobile devices manufacturers as consumers shift their behavior to buying new phones from legitimate channels over second-hand and black market devices.