As Apple and Research In Motion have won a greater share in the Wi-Fi handset market over the past year, Nokia has lost share.
Though Nokia is still the leading vendor for dual-mode smartphones (Wi-Fi and cellular), its market share dropped to 35 percent in the second quarter, compared with 50 percent in the same period a year ago, according to a report released Monday from In-Stat.
The report "Wi-Fi in Mobile Phones: Dual Mode Becomes the In Thing" tracked the major Wi-Fi phone vendors, including Nokia, Apple, Research In Motion, HTC, and Samsung. Among those, Apple has enjoyed the greatest growth in market share, from 3 percent in the second quarter of 2008 to 20 percent in this year's second quarter.
Market share for both RIM and Samsung has also weakened the past few quarters, though less so than Nokia's. RIM's 15.7 percent chunk of the market for the second quarter of the year was down from its first-quarter high of 17.6 percent. Samsung's share has been relatively flat but usually dips a bit from the first to the second quarter, notes In-Stat.
In sheer unit volume, Nokia has done well the past few quarters, with 9.3 million Wi-Fi handsets shipped in the second quarter of the year compared with Apple's 5.2 million shipments. However, Nokia's shipments have dropped since the first quarter of 2008 when it saw 12 million units fly out the door. Over the same period, Apple, RIM, and HTC have seen their shipments grow.
As the No. 2 Wi-Fi handset vendor, Apple has also outsold third-place RIM in dual-mode phone shipments, says In-Stat. Though RIM still has a larger market presence, not all of its Blackberry devices include Wi-Fi. HTC and Samsung rounded out In-Stat's list as the fourth and fifth top Wi-Fi handset vendors, respectively.
The report also detailed the growth of the Wi-Fi smartphone market overall. The industry shipped 37 million handsets in 2007, and 103 million units in 2008. That rise is because of several factors, notes In-Stat, including greater functionality, lower prices, and carrier promotions. Initially targeted to the business market, smartphones are also now an entrenched hit with consumers, which In-Stat attributes to the success of the iPhone.
Wi-Fi handset shipments are expected to rise just 25 percent to 128.4 million units for 2009. That compares with a nearly 180 percent jump in 2008.
But In-Stat sees gains ahead. By 2010, the growth rate is likely to climb to 43 percent. Though that rate may not be sustainable, it should remain strong in the coming years. Wi-Fi will also become more prevalent in mobile phones. This year, 11.5 percent of handsets include Wi-Fi; by 2012, that figure will grow to 25 percent, predicts In-Stat.
To compile the report, In-Stat relied on its own data as well as interviews with Wi-Fi equipment vendors.