Nokia continues to lead smartphone market; outpacing rivals

Much has been made of the rocketing growth of Apple, RIM and HTC in the smartphone market, while Nokia has been lambasted for failing to recognise the trend and has missed out on this fast growing handset segment.

However, IDC's worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker continues to position Nokia as the overall leader in converged or smartphone shipments with the popular flagship device, the N97, driving its market share to 37.9 per cent in Q3/09, compared to 37.1 per cent a year ago.

RIM has overtaken Apple to gain 2nd place, albeit that its shipment volumes were largely North American-based. However, the company also posted significant improvement internationally, with some regions recording triple digit growth year over year.

Apple recorded its highest volume yet in a single quarter, driven by the near worldwide availability of the iPhone 3G S which triggered another round of annual replacements for Apple loyalists. However, while the iPhone has struggled within emerging markets, its arrival at China Unicom this year could foreshadow greater shipment volumes (although early reports would seem to indicate otherwise).

HTC retained 4th position, excluding phones sold under another company's brand, and remains the largest provider of Windows Mobile-powered devices. Samsung returned to the top five vendors during Q3/09, although volumes were flat from a year ago. The company saw marked improvement in Asia/Pacific, Latin America and EMEA, and has been a big supporter of Windows Mobile.

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