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Phones

Apple smartphones nipping at Nokia's heels, with Android chasing behind

Nokia takes a beating from both Apple and Android as its market share is significantly eroded over the past year.

It's possible to prove anything with statistics, but only painkillers or a couple of cold pints make the headache we get from new market share data go away.

Regardless, the news is that Apple has taken second place for the number of mobile phones shipped worldwide during the first quarter of 2011, according to IDC analysts.

Though Nokia still leads the way with over 24 million units shipped, Apple shifted around 19 million mobile devices. It's the market share numbers that are interesting (in a number-crunching kind of way). Apple now has nearly one-fifth of the smart phone market, compared to 15 per cent in the same period last year. Nokia's share dropped from nearly two-fifths to less than a quarter.

Apple needn't be too smug though. Samsung and HTC, both manufacturers with a strong Android influence, are steadily advancing. At the same time, BlackBerry maker RIM has slipped back.

The whole mobile market is changing rapidly. Last year analysts predicted Android would whip BlackBerry and iOS by 2014, with a similar growth spurt forecast for Windows Phone by 2015. There have also been a couple of notable partnerships this week, with both RIM and Nokia getting cosy with Microsoft.

As early as this summer, Apple's App Store could be overtaken by the Android Market, according to a separate report. That's based on the number of apps rather than their popularity, and there's a fair amount of rubbish in both stores.

Among the whirlpool of percentage points, winners and losers, there's heartening news for all the companies involved. Worldwide smart phone shipments have risen 80 per cent in a year. Trebles all round!