Despite smaller volumes, Apple trumps competitors with smartphone revenues

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) captured the most smartphone revenue in 2010 despite having less than half the global market share of smartphone market leader Nokia (NYSE:NOK), according to a new report from research firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple commanded just 16 percent of the world's smartphone market volume in 2010, Strategy Analytics said, but took in the lion's share of revenue--29 percent of all smartphone revenue. Apple shipped roughly 46 million iPhones during 2010; the company charges roughly $600 for its iPhone 4--putting the iPhone's selling price at the very high end of the market.

Nokia, which ended the year with 34 percent smartphone market share, captured 20 percent of 2010 smartphone revenues, and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), which had 16.7 percent share, took in 15 percent of smartphone revenues. Combined, the three biggest firms generated 64 percent of all smartphone revenues.

However, others are creeping up. Samsung became the Android champion in 2010, the research firm said, surpassing HTC, and took in 9 percent of all smartphone revenues. The research firm predicted that Android smartphone sales will grow significantly in 2011, with players such as ZTE and Huawei crowding in with the likes of Samsung and HTC, particularly at the lower end of the market.

"While smartphones represented just over 22 percent of the handset market in terms of volume last year, they accounted for more than 50 percent of the market in terms of revenue," said Tom Kang, director of the wireless smartphone strategies service at Strategy Analytics. "This illustrates how important the smartphone market has become for capturing mobile handset value. Unlike feature phones, smartphone average sales prices have held steady in the $300 range during 2010, bolstered by the introduction of new technology, such as the Retina LCD and AMOLED displays, as well as high speed 1 GHz processors."

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