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RIM misses IDC's Top 5 list again

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | April 29, 2011
Another quarter ended with Research in Motion missing from IDC's ranking of Top 5 worldwide mobile phone makers as the Canadian manufacturer continues to face growing competition, much of it from lesser-known companies that put more emphasis on smartphones than ordinary cell phones.

Because RIM didn't finish in the top five, its first quarter mobile phone shipment numbers were not published by IDC.

"Several notable vendors, including feature phone makers, outpaced the overall market, which contributed to share losses of some top suppliers," said Kevin Restivo, another IDC analyst.

Even though Apple sells only smartphones, it maintained its position in the fourth place spot in overall phone sales globally thanks to another record sales quarter. Apple was buoyed by strong iPhone sales on Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and because its iPhone works on the networks of 186 carriers in 90 countries.

LG, ranked third, was the only maker in the top five to see a decline in sales compared to the first quarter of 2010. IDC said that LG hopes that increasing sales of its smartphone, such as the upcoming LTE-ready Revolution that will run on Verizon, will help it overcome declines in sales of its feature phones.

Second-place Samsung had a record quarter, and is increasing its shipments of smartphones, which now make up 20% of all its phones, IDC said.

Nokia held a commanding lead, with slightly improved shipments compared to last year. About 23% of Nokia's total mobile phone shipments are now smartphones, IDC said, adding that it will closely watch the Finnish manufacturer as it turns to Microsoft Windows Phone as its primary smartphone OS.

"What remains to be seen is how quickly Nokia will introduce new phones as competition intensifies," IDC said.

IDC said that overall worldwide smartphone growth lifted the mobile phone market to a new high in first-quarter sales. "Increasingly, mobile phone makers and carriers are making smartphones affordable to a wider variety of people, which has helped drive the market to new heights," IDC said.

"Feature phones have represented the majority of the mobile phone shipments, but still are under tremendous pressure from smartphones," Llamas said. "Even popular quick-messaging devices, once a bright spot within the feature phone market, appear to be losing steam as smartphones gain popularity."


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